Heavier Things

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Heavier Things

Postby BabyBlue2578 » Sat Dec 04, 2004 10:33 am

<span style='color:gray'>:wave: Well, apparently the server lost everything posted on Thursday, so I'm doing this over again. :lol: Like I said, story is also at rockstar.tasting-eden.com/ht_index.htm, and um, thanks for reading. :D</span>

<span style='color:black'><span style='font-family:bernhardfashion bt'><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>1- "No November Goodbye"</span></span></span>

<span style='font-family:georgia'><span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'><span style='color:dodgerblue'>“And we are back, here on TRL. This is LaLa comin’ at you on this Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and I’m chillin’ here with JC Chasez, as well as letting a couple of the TRL crew members go home early.�

Contented and warm, I was curled up on the couch of my three-month-new TriBeCa apartment, watching TRL for the first time in months. I know 25-year-olds shouldn’t be allowed to even turn to that show, but I was more than obligated to watch my client-slash-closest-friend while he involuntarily stole the hearts of millions of girls everywhere.

“So JC,� LaLa began, “I hope you don’t mind me asking – What are you doing tomorrow for Thanksgiving? I know you have a show at Madison Square Garden on Friday, so...�

As the crowd cheered, JC smiled and scratched his right eyebrow, as always. Right back at ya, babe. “Actually, since I can’t be home,� (Aww.) “I’m spending it with a couple of close friends, like The Guys and my brother and sister are flying in and we’re gonna get together at my place for dinner.�

“That sounds hot. So I know ‘The Guys’ are *NSYNC, so—“

“Of course,�
JC nodded.

“But I know that your boy Justin is like – he’s in Europe promoting, right?�

“Yeah, he’s in London doing his thing. I, uh, actually talked to him today and he really wants to come home, but yeah – you know how it goes.�

“Definitely, definitely. Well, Justin, Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you happen to spend it,�
LaLa said to the camera.

“Yeah, Happy Turkey Day, man.�

“JC, I gotta thank you for stopping by.�

“My pleasure.�

“Always, always. I heard you sold out The Garden for your show Friday, so congratulations on that.�

“Thank you.�

“And also, good luck. I can’t wait to check that out.�

“Thanks, mama. I hope you enjoy it.�

LaLa smiled graciously and directed her attention back to the camera. “Ladies and gentlemen, JC Chasez! We’re actually gonna kick it to his video right now, which is number two today. Here’s ‘Closer’ on TRL.�

As they shot to Josh’s third hit video, I slowly rose from my sofa to retrieve the phone, knowing that he’d be calling me any second. – He always calls, before he even gets to the car. I headed to the window of my living room and stared at the falling rain, grinning at the sound that it made against the glass.

On cue, the cordless phone vibrated in my hand and ‘J-Sizzle’ marquee’d across the caller ID. “Michelle Alexander speaking.�

“It’s 6PM on Thanksgiving Eve. Give the professionalism a break,� he replied.

“Oh, you know I don’t stop,� I smiled, resting on the arm of the couch.

“So how’d I do?�


“I didn’t talk too much?�

“Well, yeah. But it’s the holidays, so you’re allowed to be loquacious.�



“So what did you do today?�

“Not much. I took a nap, went to the doctor, took another nap… Oh! And I got you a couple of holiday concert gigs with the big radio stations.�

“Damn, Chelle, I hate doing those.�

“You do not.�

“Eh. So what did the doctor say?�

“Everything is great. I’m healthy, the baby’s healthy. She just wants me to avoid stress as much as possible.�

“I see.�

“Yeah, so watch yourself, Mr. Longoria.�

“I always do.�

“Well apparently you weren’t last week. Us Weekly is still calling me about that stunt you pulled in Miami last month.�

He chuckled, knowing good and damn well that he was wrong for that one. “Chelle, I swear, I didn’t even touch the girl.�

“Whatever, superstar. I got it covered. Just don’t do anything else.�

“I’m on it. The last thing I need is a pissed off, pregnant publicist.�

“Nice alliteration, C.�

“I try.�

“So, what time is dinner tomorrow?� I inquired, kind of already knowing the answer.

“Doors open at three, and dinner starts at six.�

“Okay. And you’re sure Justin’s not coming, right?�

“No,� he sighed. “J is in London, and as much as he wants to, he can’t get home.�


“Chelle, you know you’re going to see him eventually. And you’re gonna have to tell him.�

“Yeah, well I’ve spent the past five months getting over him and I’m just not in a place where I can see him, just so I’ll have to get over him again.�

“I know, I know. It’s just, you can’t run from him forever, babe.�

“I’m not running from him, Joshua. I’m just –“


“I’m staying out of his way.�

“Well, the longer you hide – Oh, I’m sorry – ‘Stay out of his way,’ the harder it’s gonna be.�

“I do know that. But I also know that you’ve got a taping with Carson in ten minutes, so I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Go get ready, and have fun.�

“You get to cookin’,� he laughed back. “I’mma be waiting for that Texas-style potato salad of yours.�

I smiled and frowned at the thought of having to get up and cook. “I’ll see you tomorrow, C.�

“Night, Chelle.�

I hung up and sighed, nestling into the softness of my sofa. f*** the potato salad – I’m tired. And thanks to JC, I’m now depressed as well. Okay, yes, I’m pregnant. Yes, it’s Justin’s. That fateful night on the beach mixed with the end of my birth control prescription resulted in the making of a baby. And no, I haven’t told Justin any of that. In fact, I haven’t even talked to him since that heartbreaking day in June when he said that we were better off separated.

I respected his wishes and did my best to stay away from him. It wasn’t easy, considering I work in the building that houses his record label, but I amicably avoided him. If we happened to pass, I’d give him a polite smile of the eyes and be on my way. It was much easier than I thought it would be – until I got the news. After two months, I packed up my sh** and got a place in New York. I couldn’t handle facing Justin. Not yet. So yes, JC is right – I’ve been running. I’ve been running from everyone – Justin, Jourdyn, Sydney… myself. I know someone will catch up to me eventually. But until then, I think I’ll keep it going. </span>


<span style='color:black'>My tea’s gone cold, I’m wondering why
I got out of bed at all
Morning rain clouds up my window
And I can’t see at all
Even if I could, it would all be gray
Put your picture on my wall
It reminds me that it’s not so bad

Thanksgiving Day – the official beginning of the holiday season. Whoever would’ve thought that I’d be spending it on a plane? Well, okay, more often than not, I’m on a plane, but why’d I have to be alone, you know? This has been a f***ed up year, but I swore to myself that the holidays would make me happy – happier, anyway. Dude, I feel worse.

The plane, crowded with cheerful Thanksgivingers, sailed along the gloomy New York sky, hovering over the Hudson. I studied the window, admiring the perfection of New York’s skyline. Even in the rain, it contained this amazing vibrancy that’s so intriguing. It reminds me of this woman I used to love. Maybe you know her? Her name’s Michelle.

Speaking of her, I hear she moved to the city back in August. I wish I was gonna be in town for more than just today so I could stop by Jive and see how she’s doing, but as fate would have it, I’m back on a plane to London tonight. But it’s probably for the best. She’s probably in Austin for the holiday, anyway.

My random stream of thoughts continued until we reached the runway of JFK. From there, I was shipped off of the aircraft ahead of everyone else, escorted by my bodyguard, Eric, and was planted in the backseat of one of my infamous Yukons.

“J, do you need to pick up anything?�

I stared at the back of Eric’s baldhead, attempting to think of something I could bring. I mean, me as a surprise should be enough, but still. “I guess I could get a bottle of champagne or somethin’, huh?�

“Got it covered,� Eric replied, holding up a lime green gift bag.

“Well then let’s bounce.� I was in dire need of some quality time with my family.

We rolled off the tarmac, headed for Manhattan. I studied the wet streets as we passed them, some scattered with people seemingly not celebrating the holiday. That’s New York for you. We arrived on Park Avenue after what seemed like hours. Before getting out of the car, I used the rearview mirror to pimp primp and make sure my sh** was in check, adjusted my dark gray coat, and got ready to scoot through the doors to JC’s apartment building.

JC, donning an Armani sweater and that same JC grin that I knew when I was 12, answered his apartment door in high spirits and surprise. “What the hell are you doing here?� he asked me, pulling me into a hug.

“Happy Thanksgiving,� I said, laughing. I handed him the bag of unknown champagne and walked into the apartment behind him, gazing at all the new sh** he’d gotten since the last time I was there. Man, C is f***in’ loaded.

“So, what’s up, man? I thought you were on promotion duty in London for the day.�

“Yeah, I thought I was, too, but my appearance on Top of the Pops was postponed, so it gave me a few extra hours to come home.�

“That’s awesome, man. We were gonna miss you like hell.� He helped me take my coat off and started to disappear into the obscurity of his huge apartment. “Make yourself at home.�

I made casual conversation with his brother, Tyler, and sister, Heather, while C puttered around the kitchen on the phone. Man, he’s changed so much since his second album dropped. The ritzy apartment, the swanky clothes – it’s crazy. I guess it’s inevitable when you grow up, but damn.

“So, how was your flight, J?�

“Um, I dunno. I slept almost the whole way.� I headed into the kitchen area to watch my best friend act like he knew how to cook. Or wait; did he learn that, too? “How was your show the other night?�

“Crazy. Ridiculous. Insane.�

“Lots of people?�

“Thousands. – It was crazy like *NSYNC crazy.�

“I know what you mean, man. I had a show at Wembley three nights ago. It was pure chaos.�

C turned and smiled at me – he knew exactly how I felt. The rush, the anxiety, the love of adoration. “Who would’ve thought that we’d still be causing mass hysteria after ten years,� he asked, rhetorically.

It’s amazing how much we’ve grown, life has changed, but the outcome remains the same. “Hey man, we’re just that kinda pimp.� I held out my hand for the reassuring dap and laughed at my ridiculous statement. But then, it’s actually kinda true, ain’t it? “So who else is coming today?�

He resumed his bustling around the kitchen and cleared his throat. “Well, you know, the other guys and a few people I work with. Nothing excessive.�

“People you work with, huh?�


“So like, people in your band, or say, someone like your publicist?�

“Oh, look at that,� JC said, hearing the door buzz. “Someone’s at the door.� He wiped his hands on a dishtowel and disappeared yet again.


Hours later, after the arrival of Joey, Kelly and Bri, and then Chris and Dani, as well as JC’s hot ass girlfriend, Eva, the ten of us sat around the living room, drinking, laughing, entertaining Joey’s daughter and waiting for Lance to arrive so that we could eat.

“So, Justin, what do you want for Christmas?� Kelly had gone around asking everyone that, as well as what they were thankful for, and it was now my turn.

“Well,� I said, switching Brianna to my other knee, “I’m not really sure. I just wanna be happy, I guess.�

“Aww,� everyone cooed.

I was serious. There was finally that highly anticipated knock at the door and we all rose from the living room to head to the dining table now that Lance had arrived.

“Point me to the turkey!� Joey shouted.

I followed behind him, while JC went to the door. “I’m right behind you, man.�

As I took my seat, the voice of whoever had knocked so softly on the door tickled my ears, and I heard that it was certainly not Lance. I hoped that didn’t mean that we still had to wait for him.

Here comes the cold
Break out the winter coats
And find a love to call your own

When I heard it, I thought maybe I was imagining things. But I kept listening, and then, I heard the giggle. “Happy Thanksgiving to you, too,� the voice said to JC. “Here’s your potato salad.� Yup, that’s her. That was unmistakably, inimitably, unequivocally Michelle.

Maybe from shock, or perhaps sheer joy, I didn’t turn to look at her when I heard the sound of her heels against JC’s wooden floor. By everyone’s reactions, I knew that she was smiling as she came into the room.

“Hey, everyone! Happy Thanksgiving!�

In unison, everyone returned the salutation with waves and excitement. I turned around just in time to see her removing her baby blue petticoat and handing it to JC. “Happy Thanksgiving, Michelle.�

You – enter you
Your cheeks a shade of pink
And the rest of you in powder blue

Her head snapped in the direction of my voice, sending her curls crashing across her tiny face, hiding the shocked expression that I knew she was harboring. She ran her hand though her hair and took a few seconds to talk to herself before she turned completely around. “Hi, Justin.�

My mouth hit the damn table and then fell to the floor at the sight in front of me. Beneath her baby blue knit sweater was, well… a baby. The tiny tummy that I’d come to know and love had expanded to about the size of a basketball, while the rest of her was just as perfectly petite as always. Yeah, she was definitely pregnant. sh**, I thought I was the one surprising people today. “Um. Hi,� I stammered. I quickly got up from my seat to hug her and, eventually, offer her my seat.

“Hi,� she said again, looking down towards her black leather boots.

I walked over to her, wanting to hug her without possibly hurting anything. I wrapped my arms around her small frame and inhaled slowly. Her hair still had that strawberry sweetness and her delicate skin against the side of my face also contained that familiar softness. Her touch, though – it was off. It was nervous and contained that air of unease.

We pulled apart and I stared into her hazel eyes, finding that they were screaming panic. It seemed like she was scared. No, absolutely terrified. And so, without saying a single word, I knew. – The baby was mine.

Who knows what will be
But I’ll make you this guarantee
See, no way November will see our goodbye

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Postby BabyBlue2578 » Sat Dec 04, 2004 10:38 am

<span style='font-family:bernhardfashion bt'><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'><span style='color:black'>2 - "I Walk With Your Shadow"</span></span></span>

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'><span style='font-family:georgia'><span style='color:dodgerblue'>“JC, what the hell is he doing here!â€￾ I yelled. Two minutes after getting settled into the apartment and greeting everyone, I shoved JC into his bedroom, hoping to find out what the f*** was going on. “You said he wasn’t coming!â€￾

“Michelle, calm down.â€￾

“f*** that! You lied to me!â€￾

“No, he surprised me, Chelle. He didn’t even know he was gonna be able to make it.â€￾

“Ugh!â€￾ I paced back and forth across his room, fueled by my shoes pounding against the wood.

“Chelle, you have got to calm down, mama.â€￾


“The baby – no stress. Remember?â€￾

Damn it, he’s right. “Well, you could’ve at least given me a call before I got here.â€￾

My Lord. I tell you, I damn near had a heart attack when I walked in the apartment and saw Justin sitting there. Just chillin’. And I know he could feel my heart beating out of my damn ribcage when he hugged me. That was one of those moments that I thought only existed in movies. Well, maybe I just wish they only existed in movies.

After I finished cursing JC out and he explained the situation to me, I made the decision to be civil about this whole thing. There was no point in ruining everyone’s Thanksgiving because of the inevitable coming into play. In some twisted, roundabout way, I’m kind of glad that things ended up the way they did. I needed a nice, swift kick into reality.

I thought I shook myself free
You see, I bounce back quicker than most

Between my overactive bladder and Brianna’s, I had been back and forth to the bathroom at least six times in the hour, while everyone coddled me like I was going into labor before the night was over. Me and Bri returned from the back of JC’s apartment for the umpteenth time, and there everyone was, ogling me as I helped her back into her chair.

“Y’all can stop looking at me like that,â€￾ I smiled, sitting down between Kelly and Tyler. “I’m not about to pop.â€￾

“You’re just so cute in all your pregnant glory,â€￾ Eva cooed. “I just love seeing pregnant women!â€￾

“It gets worse,â€￾ Kelly reassured me. “It lasts until that baby pops out. Then, they all ignore you.â€￾

“Isn’t it funny how women get the most attention when they’re fat?â€￾ Eva added.

Yeah. Thanks, E. Conversation continued, and I sighed, picking around my mashed potatoes and wondering why Justin was so quiet. I knew the answer, but I just liked to pretend that it had nothing to do with me. Denial is a trip and a half, ain’t it?

But I’m half delirious, it’s too mysterious

“So, Justin,â€￾ I interjected, feigning a slight cheerfulness, “how have you been?â€￾

You walk through my walls like a ghost

Looking up from Brianna, with those baby-like orbs, he stared at me momentarily before answering. “Uh, I’ve been good,â€￾ he nodded.

I mocked his action while the rest of the group’s eyes darted back and forth between the two of us. “Busy?â€￾

“Yeah, got an album coming out. You know how it is.â€￾

“Of course.â€￾ I took a sip of my water and grinned towards him. These moments are always so damn awkward for us. “I hope that goes well for you.â€￾

“Thank you.â€￾

“I saw Heather (his publicist) about two months ago.â€￾

“Oh, really? Where at?â€￾

“She was at the PR office over on Irving Place and she was leaving as I was coming in.â€￾

“Oh, she never mentioned it.â€￾

Of course not. I begged her not to. “Oh.â€￾

Now there’s no denying it, no decrying it
You’re all tangled up in my head

“I saw your boy, Tony, at the VMAs.â€￾

“Yeah, I was watching.â€￾ Someone, anyone, please jump into this conversation. “So, JC, did you tell everyone your big news?â€￾

JC, chewing his turkey, looked around nervously, appearing confused as to what I was referring to. “I have big news?â€￾

“Well, I think it’s big news.â€￾

“The show tomorrow?â€￾


“Chelle, what on Earth are you talking about?â€￾

I noticed Justin flinch at JC calling me that. Besides my brother, Justin was the only man to really call me ‘Chelle.’ “Yeah, what’s the news, Chelle?â€￾

“Well, Rolling Stone has named JC their Artist of the Year.â€￾

“Baby! That’s amazing!â€￾ Eva exclaimed, raising her champagne glass. “Why didn’t you tell me?â€￾

“I dunno,â€￾ JC shrugged, “I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, actually.â€￾

“This calls for a toast!â€￾

“I agree,â€￾ Justin added. “Here’s to JC and his absolutely amazing year.â€￾

“Which,â€￾ JC submitted, blushing, “is thanks to Michelle and her being such a remarkable publicist.â€￾

“To JC and Michelle,â€￾ Lance proclaimed.

We all clinked our glasses and I downed my water with a twist of lemon, while everyone else sipped their Dom Perignon. We continued our Thanksgiving dinner, making casual conversation with those that sat adjacent to us until there was a door buzz above the table’s murmur. We all came to a halt, searching the dining table, wondering who could’ve been left out.

“Well,â€￾ Eva began, rising to her 5’4â€￾ stance, “I guess I’ll get the door.â€￾

We quietly anticipated the arrival of the visitor while Eva quickly made way to the foyer. The familiar sound of Sydney’s soothing, Memphis-laden voice accompanied her presence in the dining room. “Of all the people to let me in the house, y’all chose this b****?â€￾ she playfully asked, referring to Eva. Syd and JC broke up affably about two months ago, so as the ‘bitter ex-girlfriend,’ she was allowed a few pot shots.

“Syd!â€￾ everyone exclaimed, laughing at her antics.

I loved the way Justin’s eyes lit up when his best friend walked into the room. “What are you doing here?â€￾ He got up – no, he shot up – and embraced her with this overwhelming joy, all of a sudden.

“Damn, homie. I just saw you a couple of weeks ago,â€￾ she smiled, pushing him off of her. “What’s with you?â€￾

“I just missed you. You know how I get around the holidays.â€￾

“Eh, I guess. So, how’s everyone doing?â€￾ she asked, stealing Justin’s seat across from me. She was all smiles until her gaze went down the line and stopped at me. “Michelle?â€￾

I waved meekly and grinned at her. “It’s me.â€￾

“Oh, my God, girl! It’s been like months since I’ve talked to you!â€￾ It must be something about that damn chair, because she, too, shot up and bounced to my side of the table to hug me.

Damn. I so wasn’t ready to open up that ‘Wow, you’re pregnant’ can of worms, so I stayed in my seat while she played around with my crazy hair. “Yeah, it’s been forever,â€￾ I agreed. “How are you?â€￾

“Girl, you better get up and gimme a hug!â€￾ I smiled nervously at everyone else and slowly turned from my seat to get up and wait for her little button-y eyes to pop. “Oh, my God!â€￾ She ran her hand through her uncontrollable black curls before grabbing my stomach in excitement. “A baby?â€￾

I nodded and gave her another one of those closed-mouth smiles. “A baby.â€￾

“Come here!â€￾ The two of us twisted into some form of a hug while she fussed over me, as most people tend to do. “Now, girl, how you gonna up and disappear as soon as you get pregnant?â€￾

“I’ve just been busy, I guess.â€￾

“Damn, what are you? Like, you have to be at least five or six months, huh?â€￾

“Yeah, I’m five months.â€￾

“Oh, wow! Congratulations, sweetie!â€￾

We hugged one more time, as I stared at everyone else nervously, watching my food get cold. “Thank you, Sydney.â€￾

We took our seats while Sydney remained in a joyful astonishment about the new news. “Wow, our little Michelle is having a baby! I can’t believe it.â€￾

“So, Syd –“

“Oh, wait. So who’s the father?â€￾



<span style='color:black'>Life is funny, man. Just when you think you’ve got all your sh** figured out, and you know – finally – what the hell you’re doing, it throws you for a big ass loop, and you suddenly don’t know which way is up anymore. It seems like that’s what’s happened to Michelle. I know it’s what happened to me. So, I dunno, maybe we can help one another find our way.

She disappeared to JC’s terrace after Syd put her on blast. After giving her a while to herself, I decided to join her. She sat along one of the two chaise loungers, patting her round stomach and gazing into the falling rain of Thanksgiving night. “I’ve thought about you every single day since you left me,â€￾ she announced, not even turning to know that it was me who’d come outside.

We haven’t spoken in months
You see, I’ve been counting the days

I took the seat on the other chair and did my best not to stare at her. But man, she’s so damn gorgeous – always has been. But there’s nothing more beautiful than a woman carrying a life inside her. “I’m glad to see that you’re doing so well.â€￾

“I am, too,â€￾ she chuckled. “Life is a lot harder than our parents made it look.â€￾

Tell me about it. “You like New York?â€￾

“You know I love it here.â€￾

“Well yeah, but living here is something else.â€￾

“Yeah, but I think it’s more my speed. L.A. was just too weird for me, you know?â€￾

“Yeah. As long as you’re happy.â€￾

I dream of such inanities, such insanities

She looked down to her stomach and leaned into the cushion of her chair. “We’re happy.â€￾

Suddenly, JC was knocking on the window of his balcony door and signaling me inside. “J, Eric just called and he says your flight is leaving soon and that he’s on his way to pick you up.â€￾

This f***in’ promotion sh**. I don’t wanna go. “Yo, tell him I’ll meet him at the airport.â€￾ I then vanished back onto the veranda, hoping that Chelle and I could continue getting along with one another. “Sorry about that,â€￾ I told her.

“Everything all right?â€￾

“Yeah. Eric is just being a dick.â€￾

“Aww, Eric. I kinda miss him,â€￾ she admitted. “What’s he trippin’ about?â€￾

“I got a flight to catch.â€￾


I know it’s wrong, but I was so glad that she sounded disappointed. After all this time, even though we didn’t part on bad terms, it felt good to be wanted. “Yeah, so I’m just gonna go ahead and ask you, even though I’m pretty sure that I now the answer: Is the baby mine?â€￾

Again, JC came interrupting. “Justin, Eric says that if you don’t get your scrawny white ass in the car in five minutes, he’s gonna f*** you up.â€￾

“Dude, I’m kinda busy here.â€￾

“Okay, but if he comes up here, I’m not stopping him.â€￾

“Whatever, dude.â€￾ He reclosed the door and I turned back to Michelle, who was still staring at the rain. “Sorry, again. So, where was I?â€￾

“You were leaving.â€￾

“No, I was asking you if your baby was mine.â€￾

“Justin, you have a flight to catch. Now isn’t the time to have this conversation. You should just go, and we’ll talk when you’re back in the states.â€￾

“Are you kidding me? This isn’t a question that can wait.â€￾

“Yes, it can. I’m not going into labor anytime soon. Go catch your flight.â€￾

I immediately hopped across the terrace to join her on the chair she was sitting on. “Chelle, I will walk to London before I leave here without an answer.â€￾


“Please,â€￾ I beseeched. “I just need to hear you say it.â€￾

For a while, she looked down to the street, and it seemed that she was trying to conjure up an explanation as we sat there. She just kept shaking her head sadly and peering down. “I wanted to tell you,â€￾ she finally said. “I was going to. I was scared, and I needed you.â€￾

“Then why didn’t you come to me?â€￾

“Because I needed you, and that scared me.â€￾

I’m lost like a kid and I’m late

“What do you mean?â€￾

“I mean, when you let go – well, when we let go – back in June, I told myself that I was going to let you breathe. I was gonna let you do you and not lean on you like I’ve been doing for the past three years. Then, this baby came into play and then, it’s like Michelle running back to Justin, once again.â€￾

"Chelle, we agreed that if you needed me, I’d be right there for you.â€￾

“Yeah, but I don’t want to need you, Justin!â€￾ she whined, beginning to cry. “I don’t wanna be, like, this helpless woman that can’t let go of her ex-boyfriend.â€￾


“And I don’t wanna be that couple that just can’t get it right, no matter what.â€￾

“Okay, stop. This isn’t getting us anywhere.â€￾ I held her petite hands and pulled her into a side-hug, coercing us into a mild sway, back and forth. “I’m here for you, whether you want me to be, or not. And, even though I could kill you for not telling me about our baby, you’re my baby, and we’re gonna get through this together.â€￾

JC, interrupting, again. “Eric is downstairs, man. You gotta go.â€￾

“Five minutes, C. Five f***in’ minutes.â€￾

“Five minutes,â€￾ he replied.

“Justin,â€￾ she sighed, “I’m sorry. I don’t know what – I mean, I know that I had no right to keep this from you. I’d just heard that your album was dropping and I knew you’d be busy. And I guess I just couldn’t handle rejection.â€￾

But I’ve never taken your calls
You see, I put a block on my phone

I squeezed her hand, knowing that the way we broke up probably wasn’t very conducive to the outcome of her decision. “It’s okay. We’ll just have to move on from there.â€￾

“Yeah, I guess so,â€￾ she agreed, turning to the commotion of the people inside the house. “But you know, you should really go.â€￾

“I’m supposed to leave you now? We have so much to talk about.â€￾

“And it’ll still be here when you get back. Right now, you have somewhere to be.â€￾

“Nothing is more important than this, Chelle.â€￾

“Well, your job is a close second. Please, just go,â€￾ she answered, trying to wrestle her hand from my grip. “Go.â€￾

I watched her pretend that she just had to get away from me, as she waddled back into JC’s apartment. There’s something about her that’s still off and the longer I wait to fix it, the further she’s going to drift away. My eyes followed her into the apartment, where she was putting on her pea coat and hugging everyone, quickly. She couldn’t possibly be leaving, could she?

I act like an addict, I just got to have it
I never can leave it alone

I darted back into the house to call after her. “Michelle!â€￾ It was too late. She was already on the elevator and headed down.

I ran back inside, grabbed my coat, and sped downstairs as quickly as I could, before she could disappear again. It was another one of our cliché movie-scene moments when I called after her, just before she could get into the yellow cab that she’d caught. “Michelle!â€￾

She turned back to me, staring sadly through the pouring rain. “What!â€￾

“Come with me!â€￾

Old habits die hard


I moved closer to her, observing the way the falling rain flattened her bouncing curls before I repeated myself. “Come with me. To London.â€￾

“I can’t.â€￾

Old soldiers just fade away

“Why not?â€￾

“Because. Why? What’s the point?â€￾

“So that we can be together.â€￾ Duh.

“Justin, we’re done. We broke up. It’s over.â€￾

Old habits die hard
Harder than November rain

“Chelle, we’re having a baby. It’s just beginning.â€￾

“Yes, and we’ll be forever connected to each other in that way, but I don’t have to come with you to London to solidify that.â€￾

“So you’re just gonna leave me standing here?â€￾

“Go to London,â€￾ she answered, beginning to get back into the car.



“What about us?â€￾

“There is no ‘us,’â€￾ she reminded me. “We’re a disaster. Remember?â€￾

f***, f***, f***. Why’d I ever say that? “So, that’s it?â€￾

“We’ll be friends. We’ll talk when you get back.â€￾

I sighed and shivered in the same instant, waving her and her cab off. Yeah, sure we’ll talk. We’ll talk about the weather, and Kobe’s stats, politics, and well… the weather again. I wasn’t really down for that. We’ve been up and down that road one too many agonizing times before. Still standing in the freezing rain, watching as Michelle flew into the night in her taxi, I pulled out my cell. Ignoring the six missed calls, more than likely all from Eric, I dialed JC’s number.

Old habits die hard
Hard enough to feel the pain

“Happy Thanksgiving,â€￾ he answered.

“Yo, where does Michelle live?â€￾

“Near SoHo. Why?â€￾

“Could I have, like, an address?â€￾

“Shouldn’t you be on your way to England by now?â€￾

“I had a change of plans.â€￾

And I can’t give you up
Can’t leave you alone
And it’s so hard, so hard
Hard enough to feel the pain

After arguing with JC and Eric about my change of plans, I made it to TriBeCa, where, after much goading, JC informed that Michelle resided. It had been almost two hours, so I assumed and hoped that she’d made it home. With a weary heart and my pride waiting for me in the car, I trudged into her apartment building, and rang the coveted buzzer, labeled ‘M. Alexander.’ And I waited. And waited. And waited.

No answer.

Well, I guess I’ll just have to wait.


<span style='color:dodgerblue'>What a long ass day. It’s been so hectic, I forgot that it was even Thanksgiving for a while there. But then, anytime I’m with Justin, the whole world doesn’t really seem to be taking place. Does that make sense? Like, anytime we’re in the same room, I kinda throw reality out the window. That was what allowed me to let go and talk to him for a minute. But, I guess when that rain hit me, so did rationale. I hate when that happens. Being logical tends to lead to unhappiness, so maybe it’s time to lean on fate for a minute. That’s what my cab ride back to my apartment told me, anyway. So, a few seconds after I walked into my cold, empty place, I let fate bring me to the airport and see where it would lead me.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome you on Delta Airlines, Flight 2578, nonstop to London.â€￾

I sighed, after struggling to fasten my seatbelt over my huge stomach, and I stared out of the tiny window into the New York night. It’s amazing where life (and a couple thousand extra SkyMiles) will have you end up.

Back to you
It always comes around, back to you
I tried to forget you
I tried to stay away
But it’s too late

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Postby whatchagot4meMRJT » Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:36 pm

Stupid Abs! :no: And I left some good feedback, too. Let's see if I can remember what I wrote! :thinking:

I am so glad that Michelle and Justin got their time to talk, so that he could learn that the baby is definitely his. Awkward moment, but it HAD to be done. :nod: No matter what has happened between them in the past, he is forever tied to Michelle and his baby. I don't foresee him being anything but honorable and taking care of the child. :thumbup: Let's hope that I'm right.

Loved, loved, loved the ending! I can't believe he stayed and went to her apartment and she took off for London. Talk about just missing someone. Well, he better get his butt over to London, and Michelle can hunt him down there. I hope their schedules work out and they can start hanging out more. :pray:

Great work! :clap:

Oh, I remember saying that I love the title and the chapter titles. Any Mayer references automatically capture my heart. :wub: :wub: :wub:

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Postby Angelpopstar7 » Sat Dec 04, 2004 8:24 pm

sugar! I was wonder why abs was all jacked up :rofl:

I don't remember what i wrote darn it....well i'll make my short and sweet lol....I'm loving it as usual! MORE PLEASE!

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Postby KrazyK » Sun Dec 05, 2004 12:27 pm

Ash! You've given me new life - new air to thrive off of. I'm so happy that they're back! (Even though I just finished thair last heartbreaking adventure,) I've missed them so much! :wub:

I wonder how long it's gonna take for them to get it right this time. They're so hardheaded and stupid. Geez Michelle, you couldn't have just been simple and gone to London with him. You had to confuse him and take it upon yourself to go surprise him. :no: :nono: Justin should leave her there for a while and let her think about her actions. This selfishness must stop! :lol: Yeah, I like Justin more than Michelle -- surprising, but true. Gimme some mo'! :lol:

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Postby mtvjunkie » Sun Dec 05, 2004 4:50 pm

:clap: Yay yay! I'm still cheery from the fact that they're together again. And it looks like they want one another too, so... :D and the ending was so Ross and Emily :nod: I'm really liking this :thumbup: but then of course I would :lol: and I'm with Kendra, I prefer Justin right now :nod:

Now update. Soon. :pray:

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Postby sexyirishgurl » Sun Dec 05, 2004 6:30 pm

im sorry ash i cant remember wat i said but ill giv it a go lol

loved the chaper to begin with cant wait to see how they handle this

and also cant belive she went to london :o hope they get this sorted out so they can get bak 2gether soon :lol:

loved it

more now

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Postby SiMPLYiNSYNC » Mon Dec 06, 2004 9:37 pm

Ashley, you're the mothereffen` sh**. :notworthy:

Justin better get his ass on that plane to London so he and Michelle can kiss and make up. :D

Loves it. Update SOON. PLEASEEEEEEEE. :pray:

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Postby PreCiouSbAbY » Tue Dec 07, 2004 4:40 pm

<span style='color:magenta'><span style='font-family:Arial'> :D

please update... :please:</span></span>

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Postby jts_senorita » Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:04 pm

Hmm.. I thought I replied.. Maybe that was thursday or whatever. So, I loved it! No Suprise. Omg... I really hope things work out for them.. They're supposed to be together! Even if they are a disaster, they're a beautiful disaster. :nod: Can't wait to see what's gonna happen!

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Postby laura » Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:55 pm

*waits...* :lonely: :thinking: :headache: -_- *goes home*

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Postby BabyBlue2578 » Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:24 pm

<span style='color:gray'>:ph34r: I know, I know. It's been a while. But I'll try to do better now that I'm out of school. It's kind of long, but kinda not. :huh: Maybe there's just a lot of dialogue. But yeah, anyway... READ. :P :lol:</span>

<span style='font-family:bernhardfashion bt'><span style='font-size:15pt;line-height:100%'><span style='color:black'>3 - "I'll Be Around The Bend"</span></span></span>

<span style='font-family:Georgia'><span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'><span style='color:dodgerblue'>I stepped out of Heathrow Airport into the November cold of London, recognizing that familiar feeling of being in England to surprise Justin. This crazy little circle of ours seems never-ending. But the craziest thing about that is that I don’t mind – I don’t want it to end. Whatever it is that will continuously connect me to Justin, I’m all for it. So I obliviously rode through the weary, dreary London streets in my Andy McNab (cab), picturing the adorable look of shock that would inevitably adorn Justin’s face when he saw me standing in the doorsill of his hotel room.

Those happy thoughts filled me all the way to the Landmark Hotel, where I knew that just was staying – he always does. I toted my one carry-on bag and matching, oversized stomach into the luxurious hotel and waited to be serviced by the concierge, absentmindedly praying that I’d be able to understand their words. I’ve always had trouble comprehending English. You know English English.

“Good afternoon. How may I help you?â€￾ one of the young men behind the high counter announced, waving me to his station.

Pulling out my passport and driver’s license, I said, “I feel so silly about this, but I somehow lost my key to my room. And my husband is gone on business for the day. Is there any way that you can make me a copy?â€￾

“Of course, Mrs. Alexander. What room are you in?â€￾

I pretended to be thinking really hard before responding. “Gosh, I don’t even remember. â€￾

The man smiled graciously and asked, “Is it under his name, or yours?â€￾

“It’s under his name – Joseph Alexander.â€￾ Yeah, that’s Justin’s alias.

“Ah, yes. It says that access to any information on this room is password protect—.â€￾

“Senorita,â€￾ I answered, automatically. I’m so glad that only the hotel manager knows the real deal around here.

“Here we are. Room 529.â€￾

How simple. I grinned excitedly as he tip-tapped at his keyboard and we waited for my shiny new keycard to be produced. You have to admit that my little stunt was pretty pimp. Yes, I’m aware – I’m the sh**.

I headed upstairs, longing for the closest thing to a bed as soon as possible. Traveling is already tiring, but it is truly a b**** when you’re lugging around thirty extra pounds. At any rate, I wearily approached the fifth floor, turning numerous corners to reach that holy suite that I so desperately needed. And, perhaps it was my exhausted imagination that saw the spitting image of a very familiar woman, stuffing some form of an envelope under the door that I’d soon be headed through. I got closer to the mystery woman, and my fears came to life. There, crouched at Justin’s hotel room door was… “Paige Maxwell.â€￾

Startled, she rose from the sound of my voice and brushed her short, wavy blonde locks from her face. “Wow. Umm, hi.â€￾

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ </span>

<span style='color:black'>It’s been hours that I’ve been waiting for Michelle. Where the hell could she possibly have gone? I called JC – she wasn’t there. Called Joey – wasn’t there. Chris and Lance hadn’t heard from her. And Sydney was on her way back to Orlando, and probably clueless anyway. I even called Michelle’s mom to see if she knew anything. Hell yeah, I still talk to Mama Angie. That’s my homegirl. But no, she didn’t know anything, either. I don’t know where she could be. I left like twenty messages between her cell and home voicemail.

Thankful that the rain finally stopped, I began to pace up and down Beech Street, and contemplated what I was doing. I mean, was it really worth staying here, getting into a sh**load of trouble for ducking out on my album promotion? It’s been like ten hours, she has me sleeping in a damn car all night, waiting for her, and she’s nowhere to be found.

I walked to the driver’s side of my lingering Yukon and tapped on the window, waiting for Eric to roll down the window. “Are you sure that you watched that door all night.â€￾

He rolled his eyes at me and nodded exaggeratedly. “Yes, Justin. She did not come out of, or go into that damn building.â€￾

“You’re positive? I don’t need you lying to me right now.â€￾

“Yes! Goddamn it, if you don’t leave me alone, J.â€￾

“Sorry. I just – Sorry.â€￾

“How long do you think you can keep this up, man?â€￾

“Keep what up?â€￾

“This waiting bullsh**.â€￾

“It’s not bullsh**, man. We need to talk, and I’m not leaving until I find her,â€￾ I replied, seeing a bored look cross Eric’s face. “Look, she’s having my baby. I can’t just--.â€￾

“I got it, J. You don’t have to explain it again.â€￾

“Well, then don’t sit here and call it bullsh**. We’re gonna keep waiting, so shut up.â€￾

“Say what?â€￾

“I – um, we’re gonna keep waiting. Until we find her. That’s all.â€￾

“And what if she doesn’t want to be found?â€￾

“How can that be if she doesn’t even know that I’m looking for her?â€￾

“Maybe she does. Maybe she can see your dumb ass walking up and down her damn street from that window up there,â€￾ Eric answered, gazing up to one of the many huge windows enhancing the side of the building that we stood before.

I turned, looking up to the windows with him, having no idea of which one was Michelle’s, but realizing there was really only one way to find out. “Eric, you are a f***in’ genius.â€￾ I ran back to the building and did a little investigating while Eric yelled out of the car at me.

“J, what the f*** are you doing?â€￾

“I’m gonna get the super to give me a key to her apartment.â€￾

“Justin, if you don’t find her before tomorrow morning, we’re leaving.â€￾


“And that’s it.â€￾

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* </span>

<span style='color:dodgerblue'>Paige Maxwell. I mean, as if I didn’t have enough damn problems in my life, here comes this whore, infiltrating our lives, yet again. I just can't shake this girl. “May I ask what you’re doing here?â€￾

“Um. Hi,â€￾ she repeated, scanning the decorative hall with her gray eyes.

“I got that the first time. What are you doing?â€￾

“Um. Michelle, right?â€￾

Oh, now she’s gonna act like she can’t remember me. “You know good and damn well what my name is. What are you doing sneaking around my boyfriend’s room?â€￾

“Oh, is Timberlake still your boyfriend? I had no idea. – I heard you broke apart ages ago.â€￾

Damn Freudian slip. “Well no, we did break up. He’s not my boyfriend, but – No, what are you doing?â€￾ That’s three times, b****.

“Well, I passed ‘your boyfriend’ the other day in the hotel, and we spoke for a bit and I told him that I’d in--.â€￾

“Paige, is that you?â€￾ a sudden man’s hushed and comforting voice interrupted, accompanying his presence alongside Paige. – A beautifully handsome presence that I immediately recognized as the one and only Jude Law. “Where’ve you been? I’ve about searched the entire hotel for you. Do you not have your mobile?â€￾

As he encircled her waist in his small, but masculine arms, I almost choked on the air I was breathing. She couldn’t possibly – could she? “Hello,â€￾ I announced, submitting the gorgeous man a bit of a wave.

He lifted his gaze from studying his… girlfriend’s(?) features, and smiled brightly at me. “Hello. I’m so sorry, where are my manners? I’m Jude.â€￾

Oh, honey, I know who you are. “I’m Michelle. Nice to meet you.â€￾

“The pleasure is all mine,â€￾ he reassured me.

“Jude, Michelle is Justin’s 'girlfriend.' We bumped into one another as I was dropping off his invite.â€￾

“Good God,â€￾ he began, leaving Paige to take hold of my hand. “I always thought that Justin Timberlake was a lucky bloke, but I didn’t realise the depths of that good fortune until right now, meeting you.â€￾ Slowly, his lips graced the top of my hand while I blushed. Times like this, I thank God for the advantages of brown skin. “You are breathtaking,â€￾ he added.

I was positively beaming. “Thank you.â€￾

“Is that his little buggler you’re carrying?â€￾

His what? “I’m sorry?â€￾

“You are up the duff, correct?â€￾

Up what? “I’m not following.â€￾

“Your baby. I take it that Mr. Timberlake is the father?â€￾

“Oh, yes, of course.â€￾

“Crikey Moses, I didn’t even realise that you were carrying,â€￾ Paige inserted. She has an amazing knack for ruining every moment.

“Yes, I’m due in early April,â€￾ I smiled back.

“Oh, what a pity. You won’t be able to make it to our wedding, then,â€￾ she pouted.

Fiancé?! “Your wedding?â€￾ I sputtered.

“Yes, we wed in March,â€￾ Jude replied, attaining his fiancée’s hand once again. It was only then that I noticed the huge rock implanted on her finger.

“Um, wow! Congratulations!â€￾ I beamed, oddly hugging the two of them. Yes! I’m finally done with the b****! “That’s amazing.â€￾

“Thank you.â€￾

“I had no idea.â€￾

“It really is a shame that you can’t come,â€￾ Jude sighed. “But it’s been a pleasure to make your acquaintance.â€￾

“You’re not leaving are you?â€￾ I asked, hopefully.

“Yes, I’ve got to dash. My mum and dad are waiting for me to drop off the kids for the weekend.â€￾

“I see.â€￾ What an absolutely adorable father he must be. “Well yes, it was wonderful meeting you, too.â€￾

“I do sincerely hope that we get to see one another again. And, if not soon, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Michelle.â€￾

“Same to you,â€￾ I grinned.

“Paige, I’ll see you tonight?â€￾

She smiled weakly and nodded. “I love you.â€￾

“Love you, too.â€￾ He kissed her quickly on the cheek and gave me an acknowledging nod, heading down the corridor towards the elevators. I smiled when I heard him mumble another, “Simply breathtaking,â€￾ before turning the corner.

“Well,â€￾ I said to Paige, “what a lovely surprise.â€￾

“Your mood certainly has lightened.â€￾

“Yes, well so has your status in Justin’s life.â€￾

She stared at me for a moment before finally smiling, and eventually chuckling lightly. “I can see why Timberlake is so in love with you.â€￾

Well, I can’t see why Jude is so in love with you, but who cares, right? "You wanna grab some lunch in the lobby?â€￾

“Michelle, you took the words right out of my mouth.â€￾

I quickly dropped my bag into Justin’s suite, and reconvened with Paige in the hallway. With a newfound camaraderie and our arms interlocked, the two of us promenaded down the hall, genuinely enjoying one another’s company for the first time in... well, ever.


We’d finished lunch and conversation was going relatively well – two hours strong - when Paige commented, “I’m not sure if Justin ever mentioned this to you, but I think it best that I come clean about this.â€￾


“She took a long sip of her white wine and gazed at the restaurant’s patrons before staring deeply into my eyes. I shagged Justin not long after the two of you met.â€￾

There was a short pause between the two of us before I burst into laughter. – Not only because ‘Shagged’ is so crude, yet sounds so refined, but because it was such an irrelevant, long-forgotten secret. “Okay, Paige.â€￾

“What? I’m serious.â€￾

“No, I know you are. But I found out about that almost three years ago.â€￾

“Well, I thought I should apologise. I overstepped my boundaries.â€￾

“Don’t worry about it. I’m the one who should apologize. My jealousy and hatred towards you was incredibly immature in the grand scheme of things, after all Justin and I have been through.â€￾

“I can see that,â€￾ she grinned, patting my protruding stomach. “I can’t believe that Timberlake is having a baby! And I can’t figure out why he didn’t mention it to me.â€￾

It’s a funny story, actually. He didn’t know until yesterday. “Yeah, I don’t know either,â€￾ I answered, glumly.

Paige took notice of my fallen expression and became concerned. “Michelle, are you all right?â€￾

“Yeah, I’m fine,â€￾ I lied.

“You don’t look it. Is it nausea?â€￾

“No,â€￾ I chuckled. “It’s a long story, but I’m fine.â€￾

“You can talk to me,â€￾ she stated, placing one of her warm hands over mine. “Is the baby really Justin’s?â€￾

“What?â€￾ I incredulously snatched my hand back. “Of course!â€￾

“I’m sorry. It’s just that you got so sad when we spoke of him and the sprog.â€￾

I sighed into my glass of water and closed my eyes, waiting for an explanation to come to me. “The um – the truth is, I didn’t tell Justin about our baby until yesterday.â€￾

“What! And you're five months into the pregnancy? Why not?â€￾

“We broke up in June, and yesterday was actually the first time we’ve seen each other in months.â€￾ I tried to hold back my tears of irrationality, but that only worked for a matter of seconds. “I’m so sorry.â€￾

“No, don’t feel bad. You can talk to me.â€￾

“I’m not sure what to say, really. I mean, it just feels like things between us are so f***ed up that I don’t know how to get back what we once had.â€￾

“What do you mean?â€￾

“We fell apart. – Well, we fall apart, constantly. It’s like there’s nowhere left for us to go anymore. We get along for a while, and then, the relationship seems to deteriorate at the very moment that we’re happy again.â€￾

“So you think that perhaps you’re just not meant to be together?â€￾

“Yes. That’s what I’ve convinced myself of for the past five months.â€￾

“Not to sound rude, but then, what are you doing here?â€￾

“I don’t know,â€￾ I sniffled. “I saw him yesterday, and of course, all those feelings came back. So, I thought maybe I should stop being so uptight and give us another chance; give my baby a family. But I honestly just don’t know.â€￾

“I don’t mean to butt in, but I think that you should probably know before you charge back into his life and confuse him, as well.â€￾

Is it possible that Paige is right? “Yeah, that’s probably true.â€￾

“And take it from me: The children complicate everything.â€￾

This time, it was her turn for her expression to fall into a morose form and for me to take notice. “Are you okay?â€￾

“Yes. I’m all right. I just want you to think about what you’re doing before you talk to him. It’s not going to work if you don’t know.â€￾

I nodded and went back to my water. “What do you think about destiny?â€￾ I finally asked.

“I don’t really know what to make of it. It seems like a lot of rubbish, though, don’t you think?â€￾

“My thoughts exactly.â€￾ So yes, what the hell am I doing here?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ </span>

<span style='color:black'>Morning came, but Michelle most certainly didn’t. I waited in her apartment all damn night. Which, by the way, is pretty damn empty. Huge, but empty, nonetheless, so that was no fun. And, just as Eric threatened, we left for London that morning. I guess it’s for the best. If I couldn’t find her, the least I could do is get my ass back here and salvage what’s left of my promotional tour. I don’t really feel like coming out with an album now, but it looks like that’s the most fulfilling thing I’m going to be able to indulge myself in for a while.

Obstinately, I reentered my fifth floor hotel suite of The Landmark Hotel, and a bunch of lonely feelings came rushing back to me. It feels like I’ve been gone for a lot longer than just… two days? But, as I stared at my bed, in the same disarray that it was when I left, and the television still turned in the direction of the bathroom, it seemed like I hadn’t even been gone at all. And okay, what the hell happened to the maid?

I sighed to myself and plunged into the mess of a bed, daydreaming of what it would be like to have Michelle here next to me. I could even vividly imagine her sweet smell implanted in my pillow. I think I’m really losing it.

Here I am again
And I’m staring at these same four walls, alone again

After all was said and done, I didn’t even know what the hell I was waiting on her for. I don’t know that I even have anything more to say to her. I’d just beg her to be with me, she’d tell me no, and we’d repeat the same vicious cycle that we’ve gotten so used to. I mean, what’s the point, anymore, right? There isn’t one.

And now, all the colors blend
And I’m growing on, and I’ve become this empty page

The sudden knock at the door shook me from my epiphany, and sent me to open it. Damn it, I can’t even get two minutes in the door without being bothered. “Who is it?â€￾

“It’s Paige.â€￾ Eh. I swung the moving half of the double door open to find her standing in front of me, presumably on her way out, or perhaps in, bundled up in her long, black coat and teacosy. “Hi.â€￾

“Hey. You wanna come in?â€￾

“No, I’m just stopping by on my way out. I’ve got to meet with my planner. I just wanted to make sure you got the invite to the wedding.â€￾

“Um, I don’t think I did,â€￾ I answered, searching the vicinity of the suite. “Where would it be?â€￾

“Well, I slipped it under your door, but I suppose Michelle might have moved it.â€￾


“Michelle – your… well, I’m not sure what she is to you,â€￾ she laughed. “Have you not seen her?â€￾

“She was here?â€￾

“Yes, she was here all day yesterday.â€￾

“In here? In this room?â€￾

“Yes. She was staying here waiting on you – wait, where in bloody hell have you been, Timberlake?â€￾

“I was in New York!â€￾

“Wow, talk about fate…â€￾

“Paige, where is she now?â€￾

“I saw her leaving for the hotel at about half ten.â€￾

I don’t have time to decipher these damn English times. “What?â€￾

“She left for the airport about thirty minutes ago. I believe she has to work, but you may be able to still catch her there.â€￾

“Paige, you are a lifesaver.â€￾ I quickly grabbed my coat from the bed and began to rush towards the door.

“But, what about the invitation?â€￾ she called after me.

“Um, check the room. It should be in there.â€￾ I rushed around the corner, and towards the one operating elevator on this floor. How could it possibly be that we were waiting on one another, each in the wrong damn city? – Make that the wrong damn countries. We are the epitome of a f***ed up couple. The elevator arrived, along with Paige’s presence beside me. Without speaking, she handed me an envelope that I assumed to be her precious wedding invitation. I nonchalantly stuffed it into my coat pocket and smiled at her. “Thanks.â€￾

“Read it.â€￾

“Paige, now isn’t really the --.â€￾

She pulled the small envelope from my coat and handed it to me again. “Read it.â€￾

I unfolded the small cream-colored paper from the matching envelope, realizing that it was actually hotel stationery. It was from Michelle: </span>

<span style='color:dodgerblue'>Justin:
I don’t know what’s wrong with us. Where do we keep going wrong? I can’t figure it out. But I do know this: I love you. I also know that flying 8 hours only to see Paige Maxwell and an empty hotel suite is a sign that something is wrong. I laid awake in your bed last night – your empty bed – realizing that I can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep saying goodbye. I can’t love you this way. So, I’m going back to New York, where I belong. I want you to stay here, doing your job, where you belong. It’s worked out best that way for the past few months, and I’d like to keep it that way. You can give me a call when you’re back in the states, and we’ll talk about the future – for our baby. And that’s it. I’m sorry, but that’s all I have to give.

Hold on, it’s tragic
Stumbling through all this static

Some form of a tear slid down my cheek because… well, I don’t know why. I didn’t want to believe that she meant those things. Even though I was on the verge of feeling the same, I didn’t want to have to read those concurring thoughts. The fact that she was here was supposed to give me that shred of hope that I needed to keep going. I told her I would be there for her if she ever needed me, and I will be. But isn’t that supposed to go both ways?

I just wanna talk to you
And my broken heart just has no use
I guess promises are better left unsaid

Reading her note, I’d missed the elevator that was due to take me to the lobby, and I also ignored the fact that Paige had been standing there next to me, witnessing my experience of all this heartache. “Sorry,â€￾ I finally said to her, wiping away that one pitiful tear.

“Don’t apologise. I understand.â€￾ She brought a consoling hand to my back and rubbed away some of the anguish. “Would you like a ride?â€￾


“To the airport. You are going after her, right?â€￾

Amid a lot of chaotic driving on Paige’s part, and obnoxious pleading on my part, I finally made it to the gate where Michelle’s flight was said to be departing. They were boarding, and in her condition, I’m sure she was at the front of the long line, if not already on the plane, but I took a chance and called out her name while scanning the string of people. “Michelle, are you here?â€￾

Simultaneously, about fifty pairs of eyes darted in my direction and I became very aware that that probably wasn’t the most conducive idea to my status. But nonetheless, I waited, beneath the embarrassment of the stares, because Michelle meant a lot more to me than a bunch of strangers thinking I’m weird. It’s not like anything can top the humiliation of the many hairstyles that I willingly took part in so many years ago. After a few minutes, however, I decided that I was too late. She was already on the plane, and my analysis of fate and the notion that it would bring us together was wrong.

“What the hell are you doing?â€￾

I spun on my heel when I heard the voice behind me. That beautifully soothing voice that’s become music to my ears and brings a smile to my lips before I even see her face. Michelle’s voice. “I’m here to see you.â€￾

“Why? Why now? Where have you been?â€￾

“I’ve been in New York waiting for you!â€￾

“That’s just--,â€￾ she smirked, probably as incredulous as I was. Her smirk evolved into a laugh that took a turn for the worst, developing into tears. “What were you doing in New York, you idiot!â€￾

“I was waiting for you.â€￾ Concerned, I brought her into a hug, wiping her face. “Why are you crying?â€￾

“Because! This is terrible, Justin!â€￾

“Why? Calm down, baby. What’s wrong?â€￾

“You were waiting for me. And I was waiting for you,â€￾ she whined. “But it was still wrong!â€￾

“But at least we found each other.â€￾

“But now I have to go.â€￾ The more she spoke, the harder she cried. And I didn’t get any of it.

“No, you don’t. You can stay here with me, and we’ll be fine, sweetheart. It’s okay. Calm down.â€￾

“No. I really have to go, Justin!â€￾

“But why?â€￾

“I have to work. JC has a Rolling Stone thing and I can’t miss it.â€￾ Okay, this whining has to stop. I hope this is just a pregnant thing. “Do you know how f***ed up it is that we’ve been waiting on each other for two days and when we finally see each other, I have to go?â€￾

“Chelle, I think you’re overreacting. You can stay here. I think JC will be fine.â€￾

“No!â€￾ She buried her face into my chest and cried even more. “You don’t even get it.â€￾

“No, I get it. I’m sorry,â€￾ I reassured her. I didn't really get it, but I'd be a fool to say that now. “But, okay, how about if you come back after the interview? I’m gonna be here until close to Christmas. So, you can come back, we’ll hang out, be together. It’ll be fine.â€￾ I lifted her chin so that I could stare into her gorgeous brown eyes. She still had that same fear that I recognized when I saw her on Thanksgiving. “Okay?â€￾

She turned her head so that our eyes no longer met, and released herself from my grasp. “I have to go.â€￾

Whispered goodbye, she got on a plane
Never to return again, but always in my heart
This love has taken its toll on me
She said goodbye too many times before

“Why? Why do you have to go, Michelle?â€￾

“I have a job to do. You have a job to do. We’re just not in that place, I guess.â€￾

“What place?â€￾

“That place where we’re meant to be together because we’re head over heels in love. Right now, we’re just two people that love each other.â€￾

“And that are expecting a baby.â€￾

“And that just can’t get it right.â€￾ She sobered up and walked back towards the boarding area, while I followed. “We’re like this belt you’re wearing with those shoes. – It’s a good idea, in theory, but somehow, it just doesn’t work.â€￾

So, she’s criticizing my taste in clothes and breaking my heart. Again. “But it does work. We do work, Michelle. Why can’t you see that?â€￾

“Now calling all rows to board Delta Flight 2030 to New York. We are now boarding all seats, all rows.â€￾

She sighed and looked at the dwindling line ahead of the gate. “You know, we’re like Ross and Rachel, Big and Carrie. We’re like *NSYNC. – We just can’t stay together.â€￾

“But. Okay… Michelle, they all ended up together in the end.â€￾

“Well yeah, but – Whatever. I have to go, Justin.â€￾

And my heart is breaking in front of me
She said goodbye too many times before

“You can’t be serious. You’re really leaving like this?â€￾

“I have to.â€￾

“No. You don’t.â€￾

And airports see it all the time
Where someone’s last goodbye blends in with someone’s sigh

She backed away from me, and towards the obscure iniquity of the terminal. The terminal that would soon contain my heart, walking down it. “I’m so sorry,â€￾ she whispered.

You can find me if you ever want to give
I’ll be around the bend
And that’s the way this wheel keeps working

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Postby whatchagot4meMRJT » Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:12 am

:( That chapter broke my heart. Wowzers. :cry: Um, what to say about that. Looks like this making-up and breaking-up is really taking a toll on both of them. Like Michelle said, they're not in "that place" that they need to be to make it work, yet I sense that they both have a longing, a desire, for it all to be magical again. This is going to take some time and effort ... I gotta see how things develop more before I can figure these two out. :nod:

Paige Maxwell and Jude Law -- And that's the way this wheel keeps working now. :lol: That's bloody beautiful. Made me very happy to read. ;)

Perhaps Paige and Michelle can really develop their friendship and support one another. They had quite a nice bonding experience at the Landmark Hotel waiting around for Mr. Timberlake.

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Postby Angelpopstar7 » Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:05 pm

Dude they aren't suppose to be away from each other...they're suppose to be together....NOOO!! You can't do this to me Ashley...you just can't do it! They belong together gosh darn it

Freudian slip :rofl: That reminds me of the presentation of my thesis project last year with Brandon...we had in our skit all of these "Freudian slips" oh good times lol

I still find it soo ironic that he was in NYC and she was in London...i shoulda seen that one coming...but if they both went to find the other then they should know that it is their destiny to be together....ahhh the anguish of being in love....i think anguish is the right word...shoo i dunno but it sounds good :rofl: i'm a dork i know!

So Paige is marrying Jude huh? Lucky gal :drool: I must say, i loved how Michelles whole perception of Paige change when she found out that she was marrying Jude...and they even managed to have a conversation...it's a miracle lol


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Postby justins bubbles » Fri Dec 17, 2004 3:02 am

<span style='color:blue'>So that was like Chapterzilla. :lol: But I loved it. And I loved the *NSYNC reference and the whole part about everyone ending up together in the end... ahh... ^_^

Paige and Jude... what a lovely couple. :lol: He's just one of those pretty men. :nod:

But I don't understand why Chelle just can't say "Hey, I love you. You love me. That's all we're ever going to need." :(

I guess I can wait for that. <_<

But it better not be long! :lol:</span>

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Postby laura » Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:20 am

<span style='color:green'> :wub: can i just say.....awwwww..... and all is forgiven for the bigass wait for this miss ashley.... :hug: but aww they still havent talked....dude how you do i dont know!!!! ross and racheal big and carrie!!!!!!!!seriously....get em together!!!!!!!!!! *paige and jude* cant i just say NOT FAIRRRRRRR!!!*

GREAT JOB HUN! UPDATE SOON!!!!!!!!!!! :please: :please: :please: :yay: :hi: :crossfingers: </span>

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Postby JTnTN » Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:28 pm

And if you never stop when you wave goodbye, you just might find, if you give it time, you'll wave hello again...

Okay, awesome chapter. First of all, this should be the fanfiction quote of the year:
“You know, we’re like Ross and Rachel, Big and Carrie. We’re like *NSYNC. – We just can’t stay together.â€￾

“But. Okay… Michelle, they all ended up together in the end.â€￾

As well as this:
“We’re like this belt you’re wearing with those shoes. – It’s a good idea, in theory, but somehow, it just doesn’t work.â€￾


I kinda get what Chelle is saying, but I'm like Justin. It just makes me mad that she KEEPS saying it. You love him, girl. Stop with the technicalities! Oh, maybe one day.

And Jude Law in fanfiction. - You made me the happiest woman EVER! Although, why does Paige get him. I so thought we were over her after Justin called her Michelle in the first one. :lol: I love how Michelle's all nice to her after she finds out she's engaged. That's my kinda woman! :P I just hope that she's waving hello to Justin sometime soon. :lol:

Awesome sh**, Ash. Keep it coming!

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Postby whatchagot4meMRJT » Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:58 pm

JTnTN wrote: And Jude Law in fanfiction. - You made me the happiest woman EVER! Although, why does Paige get him.

Woman, you better watch it. :nono: I'll pop a b**** in the eye if I have to. :nana:

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Postby SiMPLYiNSYNC » Fri Dec 17, 2004 9:17 pm

“You know, we’re like Ross and Rachel, Big and Carrie. We’re like *NSYNC. – We just can’t stay together.â€￾

“But. Okay… Michelle, they all ended up together in the end.â€￾  

As well as this:
“We’re like this belt you’re wearing with those shoes. – It’s a good idea, in theory, but somehow, it just doesn’t work.â€￾  


:lol: I e-mailed feedback to Ash and said the same exact thing.

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Postby BabyBlue2578 » Sun Dec 19, 2004 2:00 pm

<span style='color:gray'>:lol: :wave: I'm baaaack. And with another chapter. :yay: Another long one, but dammit, I just can't help myself! :lol: :kiss:</span>

<span style='font-size:15pt;line-height:100%'><span style='font-family:bernhardfashion bt'> <span style='color:dodgerblue'>4 - “The Least That You Could Not Doâ€￾ </span></span></span>

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'><span style='font-family:Georgia'><span style='color:black'>
She looks into my eyes, I’m alive again
And when she says goodbye, I just die again

Well. She left. She really got on the plane for New York, while I watched, hoping that it was all some kind of cruel ass joke. I thought maybe before the plane left, it would be that moment on Friends where Ross is kinda going crazy because he thinks Rachel is so on her way to London and then all of a sudden, she’s standing behind him. Was I crazy to expect one of those moments? After all, she did mention Ross and Rachel. Okay, I read more into it than I should have. Sue me. Needless to say, I’m still in London, waiting on that instant of miraculousness to walk through my door in the form of my Michelle.

That’s when my restlessness begins
Please don’t let it win
I’m so tired again

At any rate, I went on with my duties as a ‘pop star’ and continued to promote the sh** out of my album. I’ve been everywhere in the past week, and somehow, I still feel stagnant. You ever get into that trance mode where you’re doing a whole lot, but you’re not exactly focused on what the hell is going on? I guess I know this publicity deal like the back of my hand, because I’ve done, literally, a hundred interviews, but if you asked me anything that I actually said, I couldn’t tell you a damn thing. It’s kind of ironic that my album is called Second Chance when Chelle won’t give me one. Or maybe that’s because this is the third one. I’ve honestly lost count with us. In fact, the only thing I haven’t lost is that feeling of unconditional, unremitting, ‘I-wanna-love-you-forever’ kind of love for her.

And underneath the haze, one thing still remains the same
She’s the only love I’ve known
And now she’s gone away
She’s the light that brought me to the edge
Will I ever love again?

“J, can you hear me?â€￾ Yet again, Lonnie was talking to me while I took it upon myself not to listen to him.

I’m usually in my own zone when I’m riding around in a car anyway, but the past week has really been bad for anyone that’s attempting to make a point, or even conversation to me. My eyes slowly trailed from the window’s scenery to the dashboard at the front of the car. “What?â€￾

“I said that Jo is on the phone. Do you wanna take it?â€￾

“Yeah, sure.â€￾ He handed me his Motorola and I put it up to my ear, knowing that she’d say something before I would.

“Hey, boy.â€￾

“What’s up?â€￾

“Where’ve you been? I’ve been calling you all week.â€￾

“I guess I haven’t really had my phone on. The international charges are a b****.â€￾

She gave me a knowing scoff and sighed. “Well, I don’t wanna rehash any old wounds, but I just heard about Michelle.â€￾

And you wonder why I can’t get her off my mind. “Jourdyn, I’m on my way to do a radio thing, so I don’t really need to be thinking about her right now.â€￾

“So, are we all just pretending that she’s not pregnant?â€￾

“No, we’re just not talking about it.â€￾

“You’re gonna be the father to the love of your life’s baby and you’re not f***in’ ecstatic? What the f*** is up?â€￾

“Jo, I’m tellin’ you. Now is not the time.â€￾

“So, when is the time to be happy about that?â€￾

When Michelle is. “I dunno.â€￾

“Hey, maybe she won’t talk to you because you sound suicidal.â€￾


“You’re moping around like a little b**** because she won’t talk to you, right?â€￾

“How do you know that I’m moping around?â€￾

“I can hear it in your voice. Stop sulking.â€￾

“I’m not sulking. I’m just – Dude, are you in the car or somethin’?â€￾

“No, Justin. I just know you.â€￾

I had to laugh at that, because... it’s true. “So okay, what’s your theory again?â€￾

“Maybe Michelle thinks that you feel obligated to be there for her. Maybe that’s why she’s pushing you away.â€￾

“But why the hell would she think that? I said that if she needed me, I was there - no questions asked, no strings attached.â€￾

“That’s all well, fine and good, but maybe she doesn’t need you, dude.â€￾

“But she does. She’s having a baby.â€￾

“And is that the only reason you care now?â€￾

“Of course not. I’ve always cared. I just–.â€￾

“You just have a reason to show it now. Right?â€￾

“Umm.â€￾ How the hell am I supposed to answer that?

“You ever think that all she needs is for you to want to be there?â€￾

“I do want to be there.â€￾

“Oh, and so that’s why you’re in London, right?â€￾

“Jo, when the hell did you get so smart?â€￾

“Oh, you know - all those Psych classes paid off, I guess. Oh, and Dr. Phil.â€￾

I could just feel her grinning from ear to ear, because deep down, she was fully aware that she was right. And in that case, she might have just solved all my problems in one fell swoop. But could it really be that simple?

So much beauty in life
Shining on the outside
Empty on the inside
I get lost sometimes
Blinded by the flashing lights
Distractions always in my eyes
So I’m following the sound
The sound of my heart beating

At some point, my relentless schedule had encapsulated me into this shell of loneliness and what would soon become bitterness. My life was becoming something other than my own, and as much as I loved it, the fame, the fortune - it was useless. How did that song go? Everything means nothing if I ain’t got you. Truer words have never been sung. Preach it, Miss Keys. I think it’s time to let ‘everything’ go for a while.

You can take it all away
I don’t need it
Underneath, I’ll still be the same

Don’t get me wrong here - music is where my heart is and I’ll never leave it for anything in the world. But the lifestyle that comes along with it is what I’m tired of. I’m tired of running here and having to be there; posing for this camera and smiling for this dickhead. At the end of the day, it doesn’t leave me with that sense of fulfillment that I got when I was younger. At nineteen, it was great to be the It-guy, but at damn near twenty-six, it’s old. It’s redundant. It’s... I dunno. It’s more like Usher, don’t you think?

You can take it all away
I don’t need it
It’s not me
You can take it all, take it all away
I’ll still be the same

I hope I don’t sound jaded. I’m not. I simply did a lot of thinking on the car ride home today after I canceled my radio interview (and got a sh**load of flak for it), and I decided that I need to slow down and concentrate on the heavier things that life has put on my plate. I’m having a baby. I didn’t realize how huge that was until just now. A baby. I’m half responsible for bringing new life into this world. And that life shouldn’t be disrupted by the fact that Mommy is in New York and Daddy is somewhere in Los Angeles/London/Tokyo/God-knows-where because he has yet another album that he has to promote. I mean, I know that this could all be a huge mistake on my part, but I honestly won’t know until I try it.

And try it, I did. I announced a conference-call for 2PM on my side of the pond. I think it was close to 9AM in New York, so hopefully, everyone I would be talking to would be doped up on caffeine from their morning coffee, or too subdued to yell at me.

I downed my fears in a cup of something-from-Starbucks and settled into the seat at the head of the dining room table that sat in my Landmark Hotel suite. The phone was situated directly in front of me and I nervously waited for its ring. On the other end would be my manager, Johnny; his Vice-President, Janet; the President of Jive, Barry; as well as my publicist, Heather, my A&R guy, Silas, and hopefully, my mom.

I don’t even think that dreading this conversation was a drastic enough approach. But when that phone rang, after almost swallowing my tongue, I answered it with all the confidence in the world. “Good morning, America.â€￾

“All right, Justin, let’s make this quick. I have a meeting at 10:00.â€￾ I recognized the first intimidating voice as Barry Weiss. In spite of his lisp, he had an authoritative tone that I always had no choice but to respond to.

“Okay, I won’t bullsh** you guys. Basically, I called for this gathering because I wanted to announce the postponement of my album release.â€￾ Dead. Silence. “I’m sure that all of you are thinking that I’m crazy right now, but with the personal things going on in my life at this time, I think it’s the best thing to do.â€￾

“Justin,â€￾ Johnny chuckled, “you can’t be serious.â€￾

“But I am. I’m very serious.â€￾

“You absolutely cannot be serious,â€￾ Barry repeated.

“I’m sorry, but I am. I’m having a baby and I need to be there for my girlfriend.â€￾ Yes, I know we’re not together. Minor detail right now.

“Justin, are you insane? This is the most highly-anticipated album of the year. You can’t just up and decide all of a sudden that you’re going to push it back.â€￾

“It would be career suicide,â€￾ Johnny agreed.

“I’m willing to take that chance.â€￾

“Well wait,â€￾ Silas interjected, “how far are you wanting to push it back?â€￾

“I dunno. Like, eight months to a year?â€￾

“Okay, yeah. You’re crazy,â€￾ he chuckled. “You’ll be ruined.â€￾

“Well I don’t care. My family is more important.â€￾

Janet, with her usual snide remarks, was the next to butt in. “Well, where’s your family going to be if you don’t have a job, Justin?â€￾

Uh, last time I checked, I have money. “I think I’ll be all right, Janet.â€￾

“Justin, I have to agree that this is insane,â€￾ Heather added. “I mean, I can see a couple of months until the baby is born, but you can’t postpone something like this for a year.â€￾

Oh, come on. No one is gonna back me up? “I’m willing to risk it.â€￾

“I’m not,â€￾ Barry replied. “I won’t let you do it.â€￾

“How can you not?â€￾

“It’s a breach of contract, first of all. Jive will sue you before you can even blink, Justin.â€￾

Damn. You see how fast people change when sh** ain’t goin’ their way? “Okay, let’s not make threats.â€￾

“It’s the truth, Justin. You can’t do this.â€￾

Johnny inserted another two cents, saying, “And Justin, they’ve got a lot of money invested in you for this promotion. We were relying on those holiday sales to replenish the 2007 budget for the first and second quarter.â€￾

“Y’all don’t get it. This isn’t about Jive, or WEG, or Zomba or any-damn-body else but me.â€￾

“But you’re affecting Jive, Zomba and WEG and the ten million other people that were going to buy this album. You cannot cancel an album two weeks before the release date.â€￾

My mom had been atypically quiet through this entire conversation, but somehow, I knew that she was on the line. “Mom, are you here?â€￾

“Yes,â€￾ she said, quietly.

“What do you think about this?â€￾ If anything, mama would be on my side.

“I think that you’re making a mistake.â€￾ Her voice was low and meek, but audible. And yes, she definitely said that I was making a mistake. My own mother. “I think that you’re doing this for the wrong reasons and I think that you’ll regret it before the year is even over.â€￾

“I don’t even know what to say to that. So, not one of you agrees with me.â€￾ That damn silence again. That’s what I hated the most.

“Justin, there’s no reason that you can’t have a career and a completely functional family life,â€￾ Barry finally told me.

Functional? He just told me that I could have a functional family. What the f*** are these people smokin’? Since when does your job take precedence over your family? “I don’t know what to say.â€￾

“Just get rid of this ridiculous idea, and we can all go on about our day as if you never said it.â€￾

Oh, what’s ridiculous, old man, is you. “Well check this out. You can act like I didn’t say it, but I did. And I’ll say it again - The album is postponed. Indefinitely. Now, Barry, y’all can drop me if you want. Johnny, if you’re done with me, that’s fine, too. But I’m sorry, I can’t let you dictate how my life is run. I have too much at stake.â€￾

“Well, Justin, as your manager, I can only respect your decision. I think that it’s a huge mistake, but it’s your mistake to make.â€￾

“Thank you.â€￾

“I suggest that after this, you call your lawyers, Justin. You’re going to need them,â€￾ was all that Barry said.

And one by one, my phone companions began to drop like flies, finally dwindling to just me and my mom. “I had to do it,â€￾ I told her.

“I know that you think you did.â€￾

“No, I did. Michelle thinks that I’d rather be selling an album than be a part of her life, and I have to show her that I’m fully committed to this - to us.â€￾

“I understand it all, Justin. But what happens if she still doesn’t take you back? What if it’s just about the mere fact that you broke her heart and she just hasn’t yet recovered?â€￾

“Well then, this would’ve all been in vain, I guess.â€￾

“And there are the magic words,â€￾ my mom explained. “‘I guess.’ That’s exactly why I say that this is a mistake. - You’re guessing. You’re not sure.â€￾

“Ma, what are you talking about?â€￾

“Justin, I told you. You gamble with money, not–.â€￾

“Not your heart,â€￾ I finished. “I know. And this - me and Michelle - is a sure thing. So no, it’s not a mistake. It’s me, for the first time in my life, taking the step towards happiness that everyone else seems to think I shouldn’t take.â€￾

She walked into my life, and my world was still
She reached into my soul, and all my doubts were killed

“Well, at least I know she’s worth it,â€￾ she sighed. “But you’ve jumped, baby, so there’s no turning back.â€￾

“A wise woman once told me that you’ll never see the sunset if you’re always looking back. I have no intention of missing it.â€￾

That’s when my loneliness subsided
She gave me the will
I could fight it
But nothing can erase the one thing that remains the same
She’s the only love I’ve known

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* </span>

<span style='color:dodgerblue'>I have this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that the world hates me right now. I know that I’m probably being more stubborn and stupider than necessary, but you have to look at it from my perspective. The last time I decided to let Justin back into my life, he told me that he couldn’t be with me. He said that we were f***ed up. Yeah, well somewhere along the line, I started believing it. And now that I do, it’s not so easy to just say, ‘Oh, let’s forget about everything that happened in June since we’re having a baby now.’ Paige was right: Children only complicate things. If it fixes anything, it’s only going to be temporary. And I don’t want to be that woman that looks at her life in ten years and wonders what she should have done differently. I don’t want to wanna edit any of my life when I revisit it. Call me crazy, but I want to do things right the first time.

I know great distance still remains between us
But there’s good reason to hold on

It was a gorgeous snowy day in the city as I was returning from the second of my four doctor’s appointments for the month of December. In the beauty of the day, I decided to take a nice, long detour through Central Park on my way home. As cold as it was, there was nothing like trudging through that amazing blanket of white that covered the park, while flurries continued to sprinkle into the bare trees and dampen the empty benches.

It’s the happiest time of the year
Filled with laughter and good cheer

I was about two minutes from entering the 57th Street subway station when my phone, vibrating to the sound of ‘This Christmas,’ startled me. “Hello?â€￾ I answered, knowing that it was my mother.

“What did the doctor say?â€￾ she asked.

I leaned against the banister of the subway entrance and laughed at my mother’s excitement. “He said that I’m doing great. He wants me to avoid flying anywhere else, being so close to my third trimester, but besides that, everything is perfect. And um...â€￾ I paused for suspense.


“And I’m having a boy!â€￾

“Michelle! Oh, that’s beautiful!â€￾ she cooed. “A boy!â€￾

I smiled, nodding as if she were right in front of me. “A boy.â€￾

“I’m having a grandson! I can’t believe it!â€￾

“I know! I was hoping for a boy, too.â€￾

“I remember that’s what you said,â€￾ she replied. “Oh, but Justin’s gonna be disappointed. You know his dream was to have four girls.â€￾

I rolled my eyes at her ruining my damn moment with his name. “Yeah, I know.â€￾

“Have you told him yet?â€￾

“No, not yet.



“You have to tell him at some point.â€￾

“I will. I’m just waiting for the right moment. He’s busy right now, promoting his album and I don’t want to interfere with that.â€￾

“No, he isn’t.â€￾

“Yes, he is. What do you think he was doing in London?â€￾

“Girl, don’t you watch TV anymore? He postponed his album release.â€￾

He did what! “Don’t lie to me, mom.â€￾

“Girl, I ain’t lyin’. I just heard it today on CNN.â€￾

Well ain’t that a b****. “Wow.â€￾

“Yeah, exactly. So now that you know you’re his first priority, don’t you think it’s time for you to give him the same respect?â€￾

“What makes you think he did that for me?â€￾

“What makes you think that he didn’t?â€￾

As you watch the snow, sweet love you’ll hear me say
You’ve got my heart on Christmas
Inside my soul, your love remains


As darkness fell upon the city, I made it back to my side of town. My only plans for the evening were to prepare my version of an Italian masterpiece - spaghetti - and settle in with Ellen until me and my little baby boy fell asleep. And so, I puttered around my open kitchen, browning the ground meat and listening to the hilarity that is Ellen Degeneres as she set up the scenes that accompanied this flashback episode.

“Now this,â€￾ I heard Ellen say, “was one of my favorite 12 Days of Giveaways episodes, ever. My good friend, Justin Timberlake, did me the huge favor of playing Big Gin for a couple of days.â€￾ I smiled, just thinking of Justin dressed up like a big ass gingerbread man. I agree, Ellen. That was pretty awesome. “So, I’ll just let you watch the tape,â€￾ she finally said.

I quickly rushed into my living room, just in time to see Justin walk onscreen. My smile automatically grew to something the size of Tennessee, and eventually turned into hysterical laughter as he began to impeccably dance to MC Hammer in spite of his huge costume. After two years, that sh** still cracks me up. Once the fun finally subsided, I plopped into my couch, lightly rubbing my stomach in cheerfulness. “Can you believe that your daddy is that crazy?â€￾ I asked the baby. I giggled to myself, reminiscing with that moment.

Snowflake melts on your eye, it turns to a tear
But your cheek, it stays dry with your warm smile so near
I have no fear we’re gonna make it

And then, as if he’d gotten some kind of cue, I felt my baby. He kicked! Or twisted, or turned or something. Whatever it was, he moved. The life that I’m growing inside of me just made its presence known, and moved. I must say that that was the best feeling I’ve ever experienced.

“Oh, my God!â€￾ I said to myself. “Are you trying to tell me something in there?â€￾ He didn’t move again, but I didn’t need him to. That one little twist was enough for me to do everything but cry as I gleefully rose from the couch to finish my dinner. I bumped a little Justified and we danced across the kitchen while waiting for the pasta to boil.

When the electrifying beat of ‘Rock Your Body’ came blasting through my apartment, I began my little pregnant dance towards my bedroom and into the closet to slip out of my street clothes and into the comfortableness of sweats and a tank. I’ve had this album for three years, and I still jam to it like it’s new. “Tell you what I’m gon’ do. Pull you close and share my groove. So you grab your girls, and you grab a couple more! And you all can meet me–,â€￾ I was suddenly stopped by an unwarranted tap on my shoulder that, needless to say, scared the sh** out of me. “What the f*** are you doing?â€￾ I yelled over the music.

And there he stood, in all his unspoken beauty, staring at me in the same manner he had when he bumped into me at Abercrombie & Fitch, almost exactly three years ago. Again, he said nothing, leaving me to wonder what the hell was wrong with him.

I grabbed the stereo’s remote control from my bed and stopped the echo of his music throughout the house. “Justin, what are you doing? You scared me half to death!â€￾

“I’m sorry,â€￾ he finally spoke, shaking his thoughts away. “Are you okay?â€￾

“Well yeah, besides my heart leaping out of my chest a few seconds ago, I’m fine.â€￾ He smiled, continuing to stare. “What the hell are you doing?â€￾

“I’m just taking you in. You’re so gorgeous right now.â€￾

God, he is so weird sometimes. “Thanks, I guess. But what are you doing here?â€￾ What is that, like four times I’ve asked now?

“I came to see you,â€￾ he stated in an obvious tone.

“But why? Why aren’t you in England?â€￾

“Because I’d rather be here.â€￾


“Please, don’t start coming down on me right now. I just wanna look at you right now. You’re so beautiful.â€￾

“And you’re so weird,â€￾ I replied, escaping his stare. I closed my closet door and left the bedroom to return to the kitchen. “How did you get in here?â€￾ I know that I always lock my door.

“I have a key,â€￾ he answered, following me to the stove. “I actually knocked, but I think the music was too loud for you to hear.â€￾

I stirred my meat and tomato paste concoction and turned down the boiling noodles before staring back at him. “I don’t even wanna know how you got a key to my apartment.â€￾

He smiled humbly and scanned the ceilings with a hint of a glimmer in his blue eyes. “I like your place. It’s definitely your style.â€￾

I smirked because, hell, I wasn’t even aware that I had a style. “What does that mean?â€￾

“You’ve got that country elegance goin’ on. I like it.â€￾

“I have like, a television, a couch, and a bed. What is there to like?â€￾

He leaned against the counter opposite of me and looked down for a while. “I actually don’t know what I’m talking about. It was just somethin’ to say.â€￾

I sighed, mainly in order to stifle a laugh, and went back to my cooking. “Do you wanna stay for dinner?â€￾

“Uh, yeah,â€￾ he clambered, “I’d love to.â€￾

“Good. Do me a favor and get a couple of plates from the cabinet up there,â€￾ I directed, pointing him to basically nothing. I silently watched in amusement as he nervously took my instructions, and I began to strain the noodles. “Are you all right?â€￾

“Yeah, I’m great.â€￾

I smiled again, because this - whatever it was - felt good. I loved that, no matter how much I pushed him away, he’d always end up back at my side. “Goodâ€￾

Over you
I’m never over you
Something about you
It’s just the way you move me

We finally finished preparing our plates, and were settled into my warm leather couch, slurping on spaghetti with meat sauce. Sitting cross-legged and facing him, I started talking. “Can I ask you somethin’?â€￾

“Sure,â€￾ he replied, taking a sip of his red wine. “What’s up?â€￾

“Why, in God’s name, would you postpone your album?â€￾

“Not you, too.â€￾

“What’s wrong? Have other people told you how stupid that was?â€￾

“Yeah, just everyone I know.â€￾

“Guess what, J. They were right!â€￾

“No, they weren’t. And no, you aren’t either. I did what I had to do for us.â€￾

“What ‘us?’ There’s no ‘us,’ Justin. Why are you ruining your career?â€￾

“Because I need you to see that I’m 110% committed to being there for you and our baby. So, here I am.â€￾ He gave me that cheesy Justin smile - the one that shows every single one of his teeth - and went back to eating.

I’m so good at forgetting
And I quit every game I play
But forgive me love
I can’t turn and walk away this way

“You’re crazy.â€￾

“That’s what I hear.â€￾

“So what are you gonna do?â€￾

“I’m gonna stay here in New York and be whatever it is that you need me to be.â€￾

“I don’t need for you to be anything.â€￾

“Chelle, don’t tell me that this was all in vain.â€￾

“I’m not telling you anything. I’m just telling you that you don’t have to be here. Our baby will be just fine without you until he comes out. So maybe you should go back to London, you know? Do your thing, and we’ll be here when you come home for the holidays and everything. You don’t have to jeopardize your career to be with an unborn baby,â€￾ I chuckled.

“No, you don’t get it. I’m not just here for the baby. I’m home for the holidays. I’m here for you. - You and me.â€￾

Oh, not this again. “Look, J. There is no ‘me and you.’ I don’t know how many times I have to say it, but right now, on this 13th day of December, there can be no ‘us,’ okay?â€￾

“But –.â€￾

“No! So listen, you can stay here as long as you want, be here for the baby, whatever. Hell, you can be my b**** if you want, but you can’t be my boyfriend. Dr. Stanton told me to remain stress-free, and you know what? You and me are the exact opposite of that. We’re stress-full. So, we’re friends, having a baby, and that’s it. Okay?â€￾

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ </span>

<span style='color:black'>Leave the light on
I’ll never give up on you

Friends. Having a baby. And that’s it. Well, I guess it’s better than nothing. But wait a minute. Did she just say ‘when he comes out’? As in, a baby ‘he’? As in, we’re having a baby boy?

Leave the light on for me, too</span></span></span>

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Postby Angelpopstar7 » Sun Dec 19, 2004 3:10 pm

I think that I'm actually gonna be first for once in my life :yay:

I have no idea where to even begin...so much has happened...Justin! I see that he's trying to prove to Chelle that he wants to be there for her but Jive is gonna be all over his a s s....i hope that they don't go after him for too much...but like i dunno what to say...i'm just in complete shock right now...if she can't tell that hes committed after that, something is wrong with her...but leave it to Jourdyn to knock some sense into that boy :rofl:

And they're having a boy :yay: Lil boys are sooo cute! And they have the cutest clothes too! I was lookin for some clothes to buy for my Cousin Nicci (she's having a lil boy in March) and everything is just sooo cute i was like awww!! lol anyways you just have to be careful when you're changing those diapers..making sure that you don't get squirted in the face :rofl:


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Postby whatchagot4meMRJT » Sun Dec 19, 2004 8:09 pm

Aww, a little boy bambino. :wub: Talk about the world's most beautiful child! ^_^ I like how Michelle is raising that boy right by playing his dad's music. :lol: I'm picturing her dancing around in her kitchen ... very cute. I would've smacked him if he snuck up on me like that. Good golly, I hate it when people do that to me, especially when my music is loud and I'm dancing. :rofl: Way to startle a person into having a heart attack. :P

Justin cancelling his album release and all of his promotion shocked the hell out of me. :nod: Totally understand his good intentions, just not sure that he really should've made that decision -- it's definitely an extreme measure. Especially with him and Michelle still having problems and not knowing if they're going to be a couple again or what. :shrug: But, what's done is done, and he has to face that consequence.

As Heather said, Ahhhh. More! :please: :lol:

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Postby laura » Mon Dec 20, 2004 4:44 am

<span style='color:green'>okay he is mental,but for sooo many good reasons!!! he loves her still she loves him....aww and a boy....sooo purty!!!!!!!!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap: ash loving it and the longer the better babe i wont be here for two whole weeks staring tuesday so i guess this is it for me for a while(sob!") but ill be back and waitin' for another groovy update.....lovin it as usual!!!!!!!!!!

more soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :hug: </span>

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Postby mtvjunkie » Mon Dec 20, 2004 5:23 pm

“You know, we’re like Ross and Rachel, Big and Carrie. We’re like *NSYNC. – We just can’t stay together.â€￾

“But. Okay… Michelle, they all ended up together in the end.â€￾  
Amen. :clap:

:yay: :wub: a jt junior ^_^

I'm glad that Michelle allows them both to be friends, I can only blame the rest of her actions on hormones :nod: as for justin posponing the album :jawdrop: woah, I genuinely didn't see that coming, and I'm not sure if I like how it's going yet :thinking:

I expect eight updates when I come back :nono: :P

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Postby justins bubbles » Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:13 am

<span style='color:blue'>Oh how I love this couple. I mean they're Phaedra/Yvonne worthy. :nod: And Ash, you can SO be Chelle. :lol: I guess it's only fair. :lol:

Um, I'm kinda behind in the feedback, but you know I got choo girl! I've loved every bit... from Jude doing his thing, to Justin dropping everything to be who he needs/wants to be. The only flaw in this? Chelle pushing him away! But I guess if she didn't, this thing would be, what? Maybe a sentence long? :lol:

Keep it up baby!</span>

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Postby BabyBlue2578 » Wed Dec 22, 2004 5:11 pm

<span style='color:gray'>:o :notworthy: Bubs, I think that is the greatest compliment you ever could've given me. You've just made my life complete. :lol: And yes, it is only fair that I can be Chelle since you get Phaedra and Jordin gets Yvonne. :lol: :lonely:

So anyway, I'm being lazy today and I don't feel like going through the emotions of making this chapter all pretty, so i'm just directing y'all to Chapter 5. I hope you don't mind. If I get inspired anytime soon, I'll post the actual chapter here. But until then, http://rockstar.tasting-eden.com/ht_5.htmclick here. :D

EDIT: Here's the chapter! ^_^</span>

<span style='font-family:bernhardfashion bt'><span style='color:dodgerblue'><span style='font-size:17pt;line-height:100%'>5 - “Leave The Light Onâ€￾</span></span></span>

<span style='font-family:georgia'><span style='color:black'><span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'>“So did you finish watching the game last night?â€￾

“No, after you went to bed, I fell right asleep.â€￾ Me and Chelle were out to dinner for like the third time this week, and this evening, Serendipity was our venue of choice as we caught up on each other’s day.

“You liar,â€￾ she shot back, “I heard you yelling at the television for at least another quarter.

“Well, okay. But I still didn’t see the end of the game.â€￾

“Yeah, of course you missed the Spurs beat the sh** out of your Grizzlies.â€￾

“They didn’t beat the sh** out of us. It was just an eight-point game.â€￾

“Ha! Try eighteen points, babe.â€￾

I gave her a dismissive roll of the eyes and went back to eating my cheesecake, while she looked on in total languish. “Would you like a bite?â€￾

“Hmm?â€￾ She was still staring at the slice of cake.

I took a big chunk of the dessert and let it hang off of my fork, waving it in front of her face. “Do you want some?â€￾

“No, I’m fine,â€￾ she smiled, leaning back into her seat, and sighing in satisfaction. “I couldn’t eat another bite.â€￾

“Are you sure?â€￾

“Yeah. You can stop waving that around in my face.â€￾

“Whatever you say,â€￾ I answered. Slowly, I devoured the fork’s contents and gave her my own version of a satisfied smile. “So, I was thinking about–“

“Boy, if you don’t gimme that cheesecake,â€￾ she laughed, beginning to reach for my food.

“Uh, gimme got shot.â€￾ I protectively covered my little plate and stuck my tongue out at her. “Now back up.â€￾

“Justin, you gon’ get shot if I don’t get that cheesecake.â€￾

“Oh, now you makin’ threats? I chopped off another piece and shoved it in my mouth. “Now what?â€￾

“Now I’mma kick yo’ ass,â€￾ she winked.

I slid the plate across the diminutive table and turned to the window that contained the scenic beauty of snow and ensuing passers-by. “Enjoy it.â€￾

“I will,â€￾ she answered with her mouth already full. “So what were you about to say?â€￾

“Oh, so I was thinking that I could pick you up from your office tomorrow and we could do some last minute shopping.â€￾

“Oh, that’s perfect. I was gonna ask you if you would go look at some stuff for the apartment if you weren’t doing anything tomorrow.â€￾

Furniture shopping? “Um, yeah. Sure. And then I’ll stop by afterwards and we can go uptown or whatever.â€￾

“Sounds good,â€￾ she beamed, still chewing on cheesecake. “Do you have a lot of people left to buy for?â€￾

“No, not really. Just my mom, and dad, and grandparents, and my brothers, and Sydney, Jourdyn, Heather, Marty–.â€￾

“So basically, everyone you know,â€￾ she interrupted.

“Yeah, basically.â€￾

“Dude, it’s six days before Christmas. What the hell have you been doing?â€￾

“Well. I dunno. I thought I’d try doing the whole online ordering thing today, but then I started thinking that it might not get here in time. And then, people kept instant messaging me and I was buying things multiple times. And then, I got paranoid and started worrying about credit card fraud. It was just - It was bad,â€￾ I laughed.

“Oh honey, you’re just special,â€￾ she cackled.

“Who do you have left to buy for?â€￾

“Just my mom and my brother,â€￾ she answered. “And I already know what Brandon wants, so really, just my mom.â€￾

“Oh, you lucky b****. You only have two people left?â€￾

“Yup, just two. You see what happens when you’re organized?â€￾

“Oh. Shut up.â€￾

Okay, I have to admit that when Michelle first said that she wanted to be friends, I thought that it would be something close to torture. But honestly, this past week has been the best that we’ve gotten along all year, and I couldn’t be happier. I mean, it is weird to not have the freedom to kiss her at will, and sleeping on her couch, but for now, the whole friend/roommate thing is working out pretty damn good.


<span style='color:dodgerblue'>Eh. I hate being Justin’s ‘friend.’ I swear, every time he smiles, I just wanna jump on him and give him a big ass kiss. He’s so... he’s... I don’t know what he is. Maybe it’s those pregnant hormones talking, but damn. I find myself laying in bed wondering why the hell that fine ass man is sleeping on my sofa. Be honest: Am I just being unnecessarily stupid about this? There’s still that ounce of fear that creeps up on me every time I think that I should open up my heart and let him in. And then, there’s this little shred of resentment that I get when I realize that this is the same guy that dumped me just half a year ago. I know, I know. Stop holding a grudge, Michelle. But sh**, you try it. It’s not so easy to forgive and forget. But, after all is said and done, the most important thing is that in about three and a half months, we’re gonna have a son. And the second most important thing is that me and Justin are getting along.

My Wednesday was dwindling to a close as I sat at my desk, supposed to be typing a letter to the Rolling Stone editor, but really, I was only daydreaming of Justin. It was already halfway done though, so that’s okay, right?

“Michelle, you have a visitor,â€￾ the receptionist, Lisa, buzzed in.

I glanced at my computer clock to see that it was 4:30, and smiled because I knew who it was. “Let him in.â€￾

“Only if I can have a bite of him before he gets to you,â€￾ she laughed.

“Shut up and get off my phone,â€￾ I joked. Minutes later, I could hear Justin’s intoxicating laugh coming down the hall, and he was soon standing in front of me, looking dapper in his Chris Martin coat, a fedora, and a smile. “Hey, you.â€￾

“Hey yourself. You ready to go?â€￾

“I just gotta send one last email and shut down my computer. Have a seat.â€￾

“Man, you have a crazy secretary out there,â€￾ he laughed, unbuttoning his coat.

“Who, Lisa? What did she say?â€￾

“She followed me halfway down the hall grabbing at my ass.â€￾

“What ass?â€￾

“Hey, now. You can’t be gettin’ on my lack of ass when you went and stole booty from ‘bout five or six other people to make yours.â€￾

“Ha. Ha. What’s with the big hat disguise?â€￾

“I’m hiding from your boss, and mine.â€￾

“Barry? But he’s up on the 22nd Floor.â€￾

“Yeah, but I don’t wanna take any chances.â€￾

“Well then let’s get on outta here,â€￾ I replied, standing from my desk. “You got change for the subway or do I need to stop at a vending machine?â€￾

He pulled my light blue coat from my door-hook and placed my extra-large purse on my desk while helping me put my coat on. “No, Eric is downstairs with the car. I actually don’t think you should be doing so much walking at this point.â€￾

“Oh, please. A little walking never killed anybody. Plus, I need the exercise.â€￾

“But it’s too cold to be walkin’, Chelle.â€￾

“You sound like my mom. ‘Why are you always walking, Michelle?’ I’m pretty sure that I’ll be all right, Justin.â€￾

“Well fine, I just don’t feel like walking.â€￾

“Lazy ass,â€￾ I smiled. “Well, you’re not gonna see me complain about being chauffeured around New York City.â€￾

“See, now that’s what I like to hear.â€￾

He happily opened the door to my office, allowing me out of it as he followed behind. We both cheerfully headed down the hall, bidding Lisa a good night and entering the quiet of Justin’s waiting Denali. I greeted the two-fifths of Justin’s security team that sat in the driver’s and passenger’s seats and fell into the soft leather of the back of the car as it crawled into the chaos that is rush-hour.

“So hey, I was thinkin’,â€￾ Justin began, waiting for me to turn and listen to him.

“Yeah?â€￾ I replied, staring at him from the corner of my eye.

“Well, I don’t know what your plans were, but I know that my mom and everyone back home really wants to see you, so would you wanna come home with me for Christmas?â€￾

“Umm. Yeah. Sure, I guess.â€￾


“I’m not really supposed to be flying, but it’s just two hours, right?â€￾

“You know, we can drive down there if you want.â€￾

“No, we can’t,â€￾ Eric suddenly interjected.

“Yo, this is kind of a private conversation,â€￾ Justin shot back.

“Well it better be a private trip, too. ‘Cause I’m not spending my Christmas driving halfway across the country.â€￾

“You know what? How ‘bout you stay up there.â€￾

“I’m tellin’ you, Justin, I’m not doin’ it.â€￾

“Don’t worry. I have no intention of asking you to drive me to Memphis. I’m perfectly capable of doing it by myself.â€￾

“Aight, man. I don’t wanna hear nothin’ about it on Christmas Eve.â€￾

“You won’t. That is, if that’s all right with you,â€￾ he said back to me.

I gave him a feeble smile and nodded. “Yeah, that’s fine.â€￾


Ah, my mom’s gonna kill me. But I just couldn’t say ‘no’ to that adorable face of his. A year ago, I never would’ve thought we’d be back in that place where we’re together on Christmas and happy, or anything like that. Even if we are just friends, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.


Shopping always, inevitably, ends with a meal at some expensive place that you know you should probably avoid for the sake of your wallet after depleting its contents all day. Nevertheless, after hours of running up and down Park Avenue, Justin and I finally decided to sit our asses down, and indulge in an extravagant dinner at one of our favorite restaurants - Tavern On The Green. If you haven’t noticed, Central Park has become one of my favorite places in the city. There are some days that I’ll find a bench to rest on in the middle of the park’s beautiful serenity, and I’ll sit for a good couple of hours and just be.

Now, we’re parked in front of a window with the ability to gaze into this winter wonderland at free will, and what do I choose to fixate on? Justin. He was so animated as he spoke, I just couldn’t help but pay attention. Unfortunately, I was paying more attention to the movement of his lips than what was actually coming out of them. To play it off, I’d just laugh when he did, and I’d nod along happily, inserting other gestures along the way, while secretly wanting to jump on him every time he’d lick his lips. I mean I swear it seems like that sh** is happening in slow motion, and I don’t know how much longer I can take it.

“So yeah, that’s my story,â€￾ he finally finished, staring into his glass of cognac. “Are you all right?â€￾

“Yeah, never better,â€￾ I grinned. “Why?â€￾

“I dunno, you look kinda flustered or something.â€￾

“Do I?â€￾ I ran my hand over my forehead. “I’m fine.â€￾

“Are you sure? We can go back home if you’d like.â€￾

“No, I’ll be fine.â€￾ I took small sips of my water and smiled at the passing customers, all doing double-takes once they spotted Justin, causing me to chuckle quietly.

He looked up from his filet mignon, raising those eyebrows in a way that only he could. “What’s so funny?â€￾

“Your fans. I love they way they all do the double-take and then go on to whisper with their companions.â€￾

“Oh, yeah. You can always hear the ‘Oh my God,’ no matter how soft or loud it comes out.â€￾

I laughed at how amazingly true that was, and then sighed at the empty plate in front of me. Justin still had half a steak and some asparagus left, yet I’d devoured an entire platter of crab cakes and its accompanying salad in about fifteen minutes. As the patrons’ stares continued, and the murmur of the restaurant seemed to focus on the two of us, my mind started wandering to the possibilities of the many meanspirited comments that people were unavoidably making. They were all probably saying something along the lines of, ‘Oh, so she’s the reason that Justin isn’t putting out his album.’ I could feel the scrutiny of all those eyes watching us. It was driving me insane. “You know, maybe we should go. I’m not feeling so good.â€￾

He looked at me in alarm and waved our waiter for the check. “Is everything okay? Do you need a doctor?â€￾

“No, I’ll be fine. I just wanna get home.â€￾

“Okay.â€￾ He quickly rose from his seat to help me out of mine, while I desperately aimed to deflect the many heads turned in our direction.

“I’m sorry,â€￾ I told him, as we moved towards the restaurant’s exit. We waited for Eric and/or Lonnie to approach with the car, and I finished my stare back into the park with a big sigh.

“I know I keep asking this, but are you sure that everything is all right?â€￾

I smiled reassuringly and took hold of his hand, covered with a black leather glove. “Everything is fine.â€￾ I hated to lie to him, but how the hell was I supposed to say to him, after rejecting him a dozen times, that I really did want us to get back together? When I tell him that, I want to mean it, and right now, I don’t know whether it’s genuine sentiment or just racing hormones talking here. But, as the days go by, I’m more convinced that it’s the former rather than the latter.


“Chelle!â€￾ Justin called from the front of my apartment.

I was in the bathtub, so I couldn’t exactly go and see what he wanted. “What!â€￾

“Come here for a minute!â€￾

“I can’t! What do you want!â€￾

“Why can’t you come!â€￾

“I just can’t! You come here!â€￾ Oh, sh**. Why’d I say that? Friends don’t see each other naked. “I mean, what do you want!â€￾

Too late. He’d already entered the bathroom and was watching me sink lower into the bubble-filled tub, smiling animatedly at me. “What are you doing?â€￾

“I’m taking a bath. What does it look like?â€￾

“No, why are you about to drown yourself. Ain’t nothin’ in that water that I haven’t seen before.â€￾

“Well I know that. I was just... cold.â€￾ Yeah, that works.

“I can see that,â€￾ he winked, exaggeratedly rolling his eyes down.

I followed his stare down to my chest, where my newly-enlarged breasts (thanks to the wonder of pregnancy) were no longer submerged into bubbles. I went even further into the water and frowned playfully at him. “What the hell do you want?â€￾

“Well, I wanted you to see the awesome wrapping job I did on the gift I bought for your mom.â€￾


“And that’s it.â€￾

“You interrupted my bath for that?â€￾ I flicked a few sprinkles of water towards him, watching him flinch. “Get outta here.â€￾

“You’re the one that told me to come in,â€￾ he chuckled, exiting the facility. “Call me if you need anything.â€￾

“What I need is you,â€￾ I mumbled to myself.

Almost an hour later, after I’d shriveled into a little wet raisin having sat in hot water for-freakin’-ever, I slipped into my pajama ensemble and headed to the front of the apartment, hoping to make it a movie night. I grabbed me and Justin’s favorite DVD, Love & Basketball, and stopped by the kitchen for my bag of marshmallows and a jar of peanut butter. “So hey,â€￾ I announced into the open living room, “since I don’t have to go to the office until late tomorrow, I was thinkin’ we could watch a movie or two.â€￾ He didn’t answer, so I thought maybe he’d hopped in the shower. But there was no water running, and I definitely would’ve heard it from the kitchen. “Justin?â€￾

I crept into the living room, and there he was, curled up on the couch like a little angel. His mess of crumpled up wrapping paper and the two gifts that he’d managed to wrap were scattered on the wood floor below him. I was tempted to wake his ass up and tell him to put away his sh**, but he was so beautiful and serene in his slumber, I couldn’t disturb him. Instead, I smiled to myself, envisioning our son looking exactly like that one day. And, as much as I was looking forward to cuddling up next to him while we watched the adventures of Monica and Quincy for the millionth time, it warmed my heart to see him at peace.

I took the blanket that sat next to the couch for him and covered him as completely as I could, knowing that by morning, it gets pretty chilly in the house. Instead of retreating back to my room, I sat in the reclining chair across from where he was, and I simply watched him. - The rise and fall of the form his body had taken; the slight flutter of his eyelashes as he inhaled and exhaled; the delicate, subconscious smile that formed on his face as he dreamt of whatever it was on his mind. I was so compelled to just reach out and let my fingers indulge in their softness. I wanted to hold the hands that were instinctively propped beneath his impish face. I wanted a lot, but instead, I was on the receiving end of the air he took and the breath he left.

Take it back, take it all back now
The things I gave, like the taste of my kiss on your lips
I miss that now


The next day, long after I’d slept uncomfortably in that reclining chair, long after I’d left Justin the next afternoon to go to work, I walked into my warm apartment with my spirts somewhat lifted. Somewhere between the train ride to work, and back, I convinced myself that a relationship with Justin wasn’t such a bad thing. I mean, I have nothing to lose... except maybe a little pride, dignity, the father of my child and the love of my life. But what’s life if you don’t take chances, right?

I can’t try any harder than I do
All the reasons I gave, excuses I made for you
I’m broken in two

“JT, are you here?â€￾ I called throughout the apartment. Don’t ask why I called him that. It just came out. “I’m home!â€￾ No answer. Figures. I walked into the kitchen to polish off the rest of the Ritz crackers and listen to my voice mail before Ellen came on.

“Third message. Today at 4:44P.M. 20 Seconds. To listen to this message, press one now.â€￾ I checked the microwave clock, seeing that it was just 4:50, and dialed 1. “Hey, Chelle.â€￾ It was Justin. Damn, I just missed him. “Listen, I know you said you didn’t really want a Christmas tree, but the house looks so bare without it, don’t you think? Anyway, I’m searching for the perfect one and I ain’t coming back ‘til I find one. Unless I don’t find one before dinner. And I just wanted you to know,â€￾ he sang, to the tune of his new single, ‘Hello.’

“What a dork.â€￾ I laughed at his pointless message and headed for my favorite place - the sofa. Internally, I decided that if he was going to make an effort, I was, too. And so, I vowed that I’d make him a nice romantic dinner for when he got back home with our brand new Christmas tree... after Ellen, that is.


Time was winding down, almost to 9PM and Justin still had yet to make it home from his Christmas tree hunt. It’s not that I was worried. It was just that I spent two hours in the kitchen cooking jambalaya for him. And yes, it was all for him, ‘cause I can’t even eat spicy food. I did the whole nine yards - candles and all that crap. It was frustrating enough to try and get through preparing it without throwing up, but to watch it get cold was just not gonna work for me. So I did what any smart person would do - I called him.

“Hey,â€￾ he answered, cheerfully.

“Hey, where are you?â€￾ I heard the clink of glassware in the background, so I was pretty sure he wasn’t on any tree lot.

“Oh, funny story. I was at Nike Town, right?â€￾


“And so, I was looking through the Shox when guess who popped up.â€￾

If he says Paige Maxwell, I’m gonna scream. I know she’s engaged, but still. Fate can’t be that cruel, though. “Who’d you see?â€￾


His excitement led me to believe that I was supposed to know who the hell that was, but I was pretty sure that I didn’t. “I’m sorry, who?â€￾

“Renece. You remember her! She danced with *NSYNC on our last tour. She was the girl from the ‘11:59' video...â€￾

“I’m drawing a blank here, J.â€￾

“Oh, come on. You were jealous of her for like the whole tour.â€￾

Oh, that ho. “Oh, right. Okay, so what does she have to do with this?â€￾

“Well, like I said, we ran into each other. One thing led to another, and we decided to go out to dinner.â€￾

That’s just f***in’ great. “Oh. How nice.â€￾

“Yeah, so we’re finishing up here and I should be home within the hour.â€￾

I sighed, trying to avoid making the noise into the phone, and slapped on a happy face. “Have fun.â€￾

“Thanks. I’ll see you soon.â€￾

“Bye.â€￾ I hung up the phone with all the telltale signs of jealousy beginning to overtake me. Here I was, fat and alone, cooking dinner for someone that I persistently pushed into the realm of friendship. I pushed him into the arms of Renece Barone - five feet, ten inches of black-Italian perfection. Yeah, I remember her well. Back then, I had nothing to really worry about because Justin was mine, without question. But now, there are questions - a lot of questions. And the biggest one is: What the f*** have I done?

All the things left undiscovered
Leave me empty and left to wonder
I need you
All the things left undiscovered
Leave me waiting and left to wonder
I need you
Don’t walk away


<span style='color:black'>I returned to TriBeCa a little later than I’d anticipated. After we finished eating, me and Renece conversed over Manhattans in Manhattan, and I insisted that she let me (and Eric) bring her back to her Brooklyn hotel. By the time I walked into Michelle’s apartment, it was somewhere close to midnight and the spicy smell of whatever she’d made for dinner still tickled the air. The living room television remained on, random lights lit up random spots in the apartment, and the pile of gifts that she’d wrapped - the ones that I was supposed to do, but never got around to - were stacked neatly next to the space she had cleared for the tree. Oh, sh**, the tree. I knew I was forgetting something.

I dropped my coat on the couch and headed to the back of the apartment where Chelle’s master bedroom was situated. From the crack underneath the door, I could see that the room was dark, but I knocked softly anyway. “Chelle, I’m home.â€￾</span>

<span style='color:dodgerblue'>‘Cause when I’m in the dark and all alone
Dreaming that you’ll walk right through my door
It’s then I know my heart is whole

<span style='color:black'>“Okay,â€￾ she answered quietly, not even inviting me to open the door and come in.

“Sorry I’m late.â€￾

“It’s okay,â€￾ she said again, quietly.

“Are you asleep?â€￾


“Oh, I’m sorry. Well I’ll see you in the morning.â€￾


“Night.â€￾ I hadn’t even turned around to walk back down the hall when I heard her light, yet unmistakable sniffle. “Are you crying?â€￾

She sniffled again, and said, “No.â€￾

“Do you have a cold? Have you taken anything?â€￾

“I’m fine.â€￾

You ever notice how whenever people say they’re ‘fine,’ they tend to be the exact opposite? “I don’t believe you.â€￾

“I told you, I’m fine.â€￾

“‘I’m fine’ is just another way of saying ‘Something sucks about my life right now,’ so I’m coming in and I’m gonna find out what it is.â€￾

“Don’t. I’ll talk to you tomorrow,â€￾ she yawned.

“Okay, good night.â€￾ I headed back down the hall, turning off all the lights in the process. I put on my form of pajamas, and silently let myself into Michelle’s room because I knew that, one way or another, she wasn’t really okay. And I was right. Due to the illumination of the street lights from her window, I could see her bed. She was cuddled up to her light blue and cream-colored blanket, and she let out slight whimpers that signified the fall of tears. “I thought you said you weren’t crying,â€￾ I announced.

Startled, she let out a slight gasp and turned to me. “Get out.â€￾

“Why are you crying?â€￾</span>

<span style='color:dodgerblue'>There’s a million reasons why I cry
Hold my covers tight and close my eyes
‘Cause I don’t wanna be alone

<span style='color:black'>She finally turned on the light that sat on her nightstand and stared at me with sad hazel eyes. “I don’t know.â€￾

“How can you not know?â€￾

“‘Cause I don’t. Don’t sit,â€￾ she added, watching me take a seat next to her on the bed. “I’ll be fine.â€￾

I hate when she does this. “What the hell is wrong with you, Michelle? Why can’t you just say it?â€￾

“Because there’s nothing wrong! Just go.â€￾

“I’m not gonna leave you here to cry all night. Talk to me.â€￾

“I have nothing to say.â€￾

As a publicist, I know that she’s an expert at painting a happy face on disaster, but this is just ridiculous. “Well, I’m gonna sit here all night until you talk to me.â€￾


“Fine.â€￾ We sat in silence for a good five or six minutes, immersing ourselves into a discomfort that I was ready to be taken out of. “Please, just say what’s on your mind.â€￾

“I... don’t want to be your friend, Justin.â€￾</span>

<span style='color:dodgerblue'>‘Cause I can’t fake and I can’t hate
But it’s my heart that’s about to break

<span style='color:black'>Well damn, I didn’t see that coming. “I’m not about to listen to this,â€￾ I replied, getting up. “You’re not pushing me away anymore. You don’t want to be my girlfriend, fine. But you can’t keep throwing me away like Thursday’s garbage. I’m here. To stay.â€￾ And no, I didn’t mean to sound like the No Strings Attached clown from the tour.</span>

<span style='color:dodgerblue'>You’re all I need, I’m on my knees
Watch me bleed, would you listen please?

<span style='color:black'>“Could you listen to what I have to say first? Please?â€￾

“No! Not if you’re about to say the same thing I’ve been hearing for the past year.â€￾

“You’re the one that dumped me, Justin!â€￾

“And I came back to you, too! But somehow, for some reason, I’m still sleeping on your couch and calling you my friend! Do you know how f***in’ f***ed up it is that I have fifty-million dollars in the bank and sleeping in the living room of the mother of my son! Do you know how crazy that is!â€￾

“I gave you the conditions, and you said it was fine! If you had half a brain, you’d still be in London being the fifty-million-dollar man that you are! But no, you threw that all away to be here, so don’t blame that on me. And maybe if you spent your time doing something more constructive than hanging out with Renece, you wouldn’t be sleeping on my couch!â€￾

“What the f*** does she have to do with this?â€￾

“I... don’t know,â€￾ she relented. “I just know that I sat here all night, waiting for you to come home with my Christmas tree. And that’s after I made dinner for you. And it pissed me off that you elected to spend your night with her after all I’d done. And then I thought, why wouldn’t you wanna be with her over your fat ‘friend’ at home. And then I got sad, and so here I am.â€￾

“Hey,â€￾ I said, grabbing her hand and sitting back down. I lifted her lowered head and kissed her on the cheek. “Why would you say that?â€￾

“You said you’d be home by dinner and you weren’t. Then you said you’d be home by 10:00, and you weren’t.â€￾ She began to cry again, melting my heart. “What’s wrong with me?â€￾

Baby, I wish I knew. “Nothing is wrong with you. You’re fine.â€￾

“No, I’m not. I think I might be going crazy.â€￾


<span style='color:dodgerblue'>I give in, I breathe out
I want you, there’s no doubt
I freak out, I’m left out
Without you, I’m without
I’m crossed out, I’m kicked out
I cry out, I reach out

<span style='color:black'>“I think I wanna get back together. Like, you know, officially. And I know, I sound like an insane woman, changing my mind every two days, and you probably don’t want to be with me after all I’ve put you through, but I love you. I really do. I’m so–.â€￾</span>

<span style='color:dodgerblue'>Don’t walk away</span>

<span style='color:black'>“Chelle, you don’t have to explain yourself.â€￾


“Yeah.â€￾ I grabbed her other hand, kissing them both in reassurance. “Listen, like you said, I dropped everything to come here. For you.â€￾

“I know. And I still don’t get why you woul–.â€￾

“You don’t know why? Well, I’ll tell you: A couple of years ago, I kinda fell in love with this chick named Michelle. We’ve had our good and bad times, dramatic and all. But a couple of minutes ago, when I walked into this room, I realized that I’m still falling. And I told myself that I still want her to catch me. I just need to make sure that she still wants to.â€￾

“She does.â€￾


“I know what I said, but screw it. I think I’ve been stressing myself out even more by trying to run away from you.â€￾

“Well, you should’ve known you weren’t gonna get far with that big ol’ tummy,â€￾ I joked.

She smiled that smile - the one that accentuated her beautifully deep dimples - and nestled into the warmth of my chest. “I love you.â€￾

We fell into the softness of her bed, resting in one another’s arms - the way we’re meant to be. “I love you, too.â€￾

Back to me
I know that it comes back to me
Doesn’t it scare you?
Your will is not as strong as it used to be

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Postby SiMPLYiNSYNC » Wed Dec 22, 2004 8:11 pm

:yay: :yay: She has finally come to her senses! My favorite couple are back together! Oh, life is good. :lol:

You never cease to amaze me. :thumbup:

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Postby whatchagot4meMRJT » Wed Dec 22, 2004 10:51 pm

Read it. Loved it. Longer feedback coming tomorrow. :lol:

And now we proceed with the good feedback :lol: --

This reminds me of the Sex and the City episode that I was watching on Tuesday -- the one with Carrie wanting to get back with Aidan. Only, Michelle is more like Aidan in this scenario, and Justin is Carrie. :huh: :unsure: :lol: But, in the end, does it really matter ... they're getting back together. :yay: :yay: Yes kids, reuinted lovers are a damn good thing. :thumbup: But the mofos are still gonna end up fighting. I think we all know them too well to realize that this bliss is not without drama. :no: :lol: And who doesn't love a little drama?

If it isn't Miss Renece Barone ... :no: :no: Must I go even further? Renece has a special way of ruining everything. :rofl: HO! Just kidding! With a beauty like Renece, how can a girl not be jealous?

The hiatus is gonna kill me, ma, but you will return bearing literary gifts, so you are forgiven. :kiss:

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Postby PreCiouSbAbY » Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:47 pm

<span style='color:purple'><span style='font-family:Arial'> Update soon! </span></span>

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Postby JTnTN » Fri Dec 24, 2004 12:24 am

And as for my favorite story ever. Dude, I damn near got in an accident today, reading this story. I finally got my debut! ^_^ How'd the accident almost happen? Well I had to get my hair done, so I printed the chapter and I screamed when I saw 'Renece,' and all of a sudden, my dad swerved in the middle of all the traffic. :no: Ash, do you see how your story affects the entire WORLD. :lol: Yes, she best to be jealous of me. :P

By the way, I LOVE that season of SATC. :wub: Carrie and Aidan were cooler than Carrie and Big, but C&B were clearly just meant to be. As are M&J and I'm SO glad that they're finally back together. I'm scared to see what kind of unhappiness is in store for them, but I'm happy for just them having that moment to be together. I hope this album thing doesn't come back to bite him in the ass. :unsure:

:yay: for bringing in Big Gin. That made me smile. :D

I also love the chapter titles/endings with John Mayer. That's hot, girl. :thumbup: Oh, and I'm calling you Chelle from now on, Ash. Good observation, Phaedra. ;) :kiss:

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Postby BabyBlue2578 » Fri Dec 24, 2004 2:06 pm

<span style='color:gray'>:lol: Hey, girls. Merry Christmas Eve! ^_^ And thanks for the awesomeness that is your feedback. It always puts a big smile on my face. :wub: And so, here's my gift to y'all. Chapter 6 in all it's long ass glory. And trust me - it's long. :lol: :ph34r:</span>

<span style='font-family:bernhardfashion bt'><span style='font-size:17pt;line-height:100%'>6 - “Thanks For Playingâ€￾</span></span>

<span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'><span style='font-family:georgia'><span style='color:dodgerblue'>The familiarity of Justin’s quaint, country hometown of Shelby Forest settled in as we drove down the small-scale hustle and bustle of Watkins Road. As he always says, there’s just something about the South. It may not be particularly sophisticated or posh, but there’s nothing like good old-fashioned Southern hospitality.

We slowly rode through the 5PM darkness of Christmas Eve eve, passing Kroger and Walgreen’s, the barber shop and the church, while people waved and smiled graciously. The best thing about it was that their reasons for cordial reception were merely because of the kind-hearted nature that these small towns elicited. No one cared that it was ‘Justin Timberlake’ driving around in this Yukon. It was just another one of their neighbors, rolling down the street. I smiled at God for small miracles like that. They’re what keep people like ‘Justin Timberlake’ grounded.

Our 18-hour trip from New York seemed like it had been only eighteen minutes once the warmness of being in Memphis settled into the car. I felt like I was home. And in a way, I was. I felt safe here. I was comfortable coming home with Justin. Even after a year, that same feeling of closeness and familial affection seemed to still embrace me.

I watched him as his tired eyes focused on the street in front of him. We were only about three minutes from the house, but he looked like he could drop into slumber any second. “You okay?â€￾ I asked, resting my hand over his.

“Yeah.â€￾ He took the turn onto Sylvan Road - the long road that lead to his mom’s modest mansion - concentrating on its winding tendencies. “Almost there,â€￾ he commented, sighing.

Seconds later, we were passing by Sydney’s cabin-style house, that sat about 500 feet from Justin’s. “Home sweet home!â€￾

“Home sweet home,â€￾ he repeated, pulling into the car-filled driveway.

I quickly fussed with my messy curls, adjusted my big beige sweater over my stomach, popped in a breath mint, all while waiting for Justin to appear on the passenger side of the car and help me out of it. The air was cooler than I expected, but nothing compared to New York cold. It was actually kind of perfect. Hand-in-hand in the mild weather, we approached the front door just as Jourdyn came bouncing out of it.

“Do not go in there,â€￾ she warned us.

Damn, I haven’t seen the girl since August, and that’s the first thing she says. “Hi, Jourdyn.â€￾

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hi, you look great, blah, blah, blah. The two of you must go. Now.â€￾

“Dude, what the hell is wrong with you?â€￾ Justin asked.

“J, your mom has been planning a welcome home/soon-to-be-engagement party all day and she will be heartbroken if you walk in there this early.â€￾

“So what are we supposed to do?â€￾

“Wait a minute,â€￾ I interjected. “Engagement party? Who the hell is getting married?â€￾

“You are.â€￾

I looked at Justin in tremendous confusion, only to find that his face was holding the exact same perplexity. “Who are?â€￾

“You,â€￾ she said, grabbing our hands, walking us back to the car, “and Justin. Eventually, right?â€￾

“What the hell gave you that idea?â€￾ Justin asked.

“Well, you’re having a baby. You’ve been together for three years. Where else is there to go?â€￾

“Correction,â€￾ he replied, letting go of her hand. “We were together for two years. And we just got back together, so I’d appreciate it if you’d skip your little ass in there and tell them to stop their party-plannin’.â€￾

“Justin,â€￾ she whined, “you’re gonna break your mom and grandmom’s hearts.â€￾

“Well, I’m sorry, but we’re not down for that right now.â€￾

He began his trek back to the front door while Jourdyn desperately pulled him in the opposite direction. “Justin, please don’t go in there.â€￾

“Get off of me, Jo.â€￾


“Justin, maybe we should just come back later,â€￾ I told him. “It’s Christmas time. And it would make your mom happy.â€￾

“But I’m tired, Chelle. And I’m hungry. And I gotta pee.â€￾

“Y’all can go down to Syd’s house and wait there if you want,â€￾ Jo suggested. “I’ll give you a call in a couple of hours when we’re done.â€￾

“A couple of hours!â€￾ me and Justin asked in unison.

“Well yeah, we’re waiting on your cousin Amy to drive in from Nashville.â€￾

Justin looked back to me in frustration and tiredly rolled his eyes over to Jourdyn. “So when can we come back?â€￾

“I told you, I’ll call you. Go on down to Syd’s and watch some TV, get some rest - boy, you look tired. And we’ll see you soon.â€￾

I began to slowly waddle to the car, completely baffled by this turn of events. How did coming home for Christmas turn into an engagement spectacle? We just got back together like three days ago. I mean, can we work on that before we jump into another bag of problems? And no, it’s not that I’m opposed to marriage. Just... not now. Not today, anyway.


<span style='color:black'>Dude, don’t you just love how parents always manage to find a way to f*** up a good thing? Me and Michelle have been back together for all of like two minutes, and here comes my mom with her insane projections and stupid parties. And can you imagine that Michelle, of all people, wants to go along with this lunacy? I mean, she’s never been one to hold her tongue about anything, so if she’s buying into this, could that mean that she actually wants to get married? I guess that that would be a logical assumption, but I’ve learned that there’s really only one thing that I can always assume about Michelle, and that’s that she’s not logical.

“So sweetie, when do you think the wedding will be?â€￾ my mom asked. It had been about twenty minutes since our ‘engagement party’ started. and she’d somehow found a way to corner me into the kitchen as I searched the refrigerator for something to drink.

“Ma, there’s no wedding.â€￾

Her warm smile immediately disappeared and she punched me harshly in the arm. “What do you mean?â€￾

“We’re not engaged. We’re not getting engaged. You know that we just got back together.â€￾

“Yeah, but where else is there to go from here? How can you say that you’re not even planning to get engaged?â€￾

“Hold up,â€￾ I remembered, pulling a half-full bottle of Coke from the fridge. “You were the one that told me to leave her alone. Why the big change all of a sudden?â€￾

“Justin, I never ever, ever told you to leave her alone. So don’t even tell that lie,â€￾ she laughed. “I just told you that it was stupid for you to stop your album release just to go back to her.â€￾

“And you see that I was right.â€￾


“So how ‘bout you just agree now that I’m right about this and leave us alone.â€￾

“Who’s leavin’ who alone?â€￾ Sydney asked, swaggering into the kitchen slowly. She grabbed the Coke from me and finished off the last bit that I’d searched for so adamantly, then had the audacity to return the empty bottle to my hands. “What y’all talkin’ about?â€￾

“How greedy you are,â€￾ I quipped.

“You need to be talkin’ about how greedy your girlfriend is. That girl just ate a whole plate of chicken wings in like four minutes.â€￾

“Sydney,â€￾ my mom interposed, “she’s pregnant!â€￾

“I know, I know. But damn. I thought I was watchin’ a vacuum cleaner for a second.â€￾

It was then Jourdyn’s turn to find her way into the kitchen. “Who’s vacuuming?â€￾ She grabbed a can of soda from the freezer and turned back to the three of us. “And why are y’all in here, anyway?â€￾

“‘Cause Justin was tellin’ Lynn to leave somebody alone, and I’m waiting on the answer as to who’s leavin’ who alone,â€￾ Syd answered.

“She’s leaving me alone about marrying Michelle,â€￾ I told them.

Like clockwork, the three of them simultaneously replied, “Why?â€￾

“Why what?â€￾ Michelle crept into the kitchen, and I started thinking that the four women that I love most in my life all share the same damn brain. “What’s going on? I thought the party was out there.â€￾

“It is,â€￾ I said, trying to push her out of the kitchen.

“Wait, what are y’all talkin’ about?â€￾

“Your engagement,â€￾ Jo told her. “He says that y’all don’t wanna get married.â€￾

She chuckled awkwardly and picked up a platter of mixed fruit. “Yeah, we’re totally not there right now. We’re still just trying to figure out how to stay together without killing one another.â€￾

“Oh, stop exaggerating,â€￾ my mom hushed her. “You love each other. I don’t know who told you any different, but love is all you need.â€￾

“Yeah, sure, mom.â€￾

“Mama, I know you mean well,â€￾ Michelle added, “but I think it’s best if we just handle our destiny on our own.â€￾

“Whatever you say,â€￾ Mama smiled. “Now get on outta my kitchen and enjoy your party.â€￾


<span style='color:dodgerblue'>On Christmas Eve, the day after our disconcerting un-engagement party, Justin and I decided that it would probably be best to get away from the family, as they were a little disappointed to hear that we, in fact, had no plans to get married at the moment. So we escaped the curio of their scrutinizing stares and headed into the beauty of downtown. Sure, there’s not much to do there during the day, but anything was better than trying to remain sympathetic to Lynn’s pitiful eyes.

We were making circles around Beale Street and the surrounding area in Lynn’s Mercedes, not really knowing that the hell to do with ourselves. At 5PM on Christmas Eve, there aren’t many options. “You wanna go to Peabody Place?â€￾ he asked in boredom.

“What’s there?â€￾

“I dunno, it’s like a mall. We can eat, shop - whatever.â€￾

“Eh, I’ve done enough shopping this week.â€￾

“I was hoping you’d say that,â€￾ he chuckled. “Are you hungry?â€￾

“Surprisingly, no.â€￾

“That is surprising.â€￾

I nudged his elbow that rested atop the console. “Shut up, dude.â€￾

“So what you wanna do, girl?â€￾

“I dunno, what do you wanna do?â€￾

“I dunno. What do you wanna do?â€￾

“I dunno, what–.â€￾

“Okay, stop,â€￾ he laughed. “If you’re not hungry or wantin’ to get drunk, there’s not much to do down here.â€￾

I couldn’t help but giggle at the emphatic Southern drawl he took on whenever he came back home. I can’t talk, ‘cause I do the same thing. Still, it was too cute. “Hey, how about we go sit by the river?â€￾

“What the hell for?â€￾

“‘Cause it’s pretty,â€￾ I beamed.

“And it’s cold.â€￾

“Justin, it’s like fifty degrees.â€￾

“Yeah, and if we sat by the water, it would feel like forty.â€￾

“You are such a baby. Take me to the river.â€￾

“But it’s c–.â€￾


“Yes, ma’am,â€￾ he yielded.

He parked at one of the many waterfront parking lots and chivalrously helped me out of the car. I’m not exactly sure why I wanted to come and watch a body of quasi-stagnant water, but I find something about this part of town to be very peaceful. Last Thanksgiving, when me and Justin were fighting every ten minutes, I somehow found my way to this very spot. I curled up on one of the benches and watched the Mississippi River for hours. I dunno, maybe I was praying for some sort of answer to all of me and Justin’s problems. Whatever it was, I found happiness in being a part of that moment. Now, there was felicitousness in being able to share that instant with Justin.

“What are you thinking about?â€￾ he asked me as we took a seat on one of the many cold benches that ornamented the grassy knoll above the water.

I smiled warmly and slowly intertwined each of my fingers with each of his. “Just... you.â€￾

“What about me?â€￾

“About how I’m glad that you’re here with me.â€￾

“Don’t lie,â€￾ he smiled, kissing my forehead.

“I am,â€￾ I argued. “I don’t know why I pushed you away for so long.â€￾

“Because you’re a hardheaded Aquarius, just like me.â€￾

“Look at you. I’m sittin’ here tryin’ to give you a compliment and you got the nerve to insult me.â€￾ I leaned into his body that rested beside me, and continued to watch the small ripples of the river, reflecting a distortion of the bridge just above it.

“Hey,â€￾ he finally said, “being like me isn’t an insult.â€￾

“It’s cute that you believe that.â€￾

“I don’t like your tone, Ms. Alexander.â€￾

“Well, Mr. Timberlake, I don’t think I care.â€￾ I smiled to myself when he kissed me on my temple again, and squeezed his hand. “By the way, while we’re pretend-fighting, I should probably tell you that I didn’t get you anything for Christmas.â€￾

“What? Why the hell not?â€￾

“Because,â€￾ I laughed, “I honestly didn’t know what to get you.â€￾

“Oh, you are full of sh**. How you gonna play me like that?â€￾

“Dude, you try thinking of sh** to buy for someone that has everything.â€￾

“I do not have everything,â€￾ he argued.

“Well, sweetheart, I can’t afford a Ferrari, so you can that sh** off your mind right now.â€￾

“I don’t have, like... “

“Shut up. You have everything.â€￾

“No, I don’t.â€￾

“What don’t you have that you want, Justin?â€￾

“I... don’t know.â€￾

“Shut up.â€￾

“I can’t believe I’m gettin’ gypped on Christmas.â€￾

“Hey, man. I’m givin’ you a baby in four months. Appreciate.â€￾

“Nah, I’m kiddin’. I got you, and that’s all I need.â€￾ He took that opportunity to sweetly kiss my hand. “I love you.â€￾

“I love you, too.â€￾

Here with you, I have all that I desire
It’s been a long year, but somehow we got by
Now it’s Christmas Eve, and love is on our side

“By the way, I didn’t exactly buy you a gift, either.â€￾

I playfully elbowed him in his stomach and went back to watching the night fall onto the city of Memphis. “Now that’s just lazy.â€￾

“No, I had a gift planned for you, but in the wake of a few unplanned happenings, it didn’t exactly work out.â€￾

“I don’t know what the hell you’re talkin’ about, but I’m not gonna push it out of you either.â€￾


“I’m perfectly content with just you and me. In fact, if I could wrap this very second up and get it for Christmas every year, I’d be happy.â€￾

And I don’t need a hundred gifts beneath the tree
Don’t you know the best thing you could give to me
Nothing else will do
All I want is you this Christmas

“Are you sure you don’t wanna get married?â€￾ he asked suddenly.

“Why do you ask?â€￾

“Well, I wouldn’t assume that you would, but I just wanted to make sure that we’re on the same page about this.â€￾

“I think you know the answer to that question,â€￾ I replied, patting his face lightly.


<span style='color:black'>I woke up Christmas morning to the beauty that I’ve come to know and love as my Michelle. This year, for the first time, my mom allowed us to share a bed. When I was a kid, I never thought the day would come where I’d be able to sleep in the same bed with a girl under my mom’s roof. Now that it’s here, all I want is for her to wake up. I wanna stare into her twinkling eyes, only slightly covered by her brown curls falling into her face. I wanted to watch her tired grin form into a complete smile. Instead, I laid beside her, on the receiving end of the air she took and the breath she left. And I was content with that, too, until there was a knock at the door.

I slowly climbed out of my bed, doing my best not to disrupt Chelle’s slumber and cracked the door open to find my mother smiling back at me. “Hey, Merry Christmas,â€￾ she whispered.

“Merry Christmas, mom. What’s up?â€￾

“What are you doing?â€￾

“I was kinda sleeping.â€￾

“Then why can’t you open the door? You better not be naked in there, Justin, because I told you that the only way you could sleep in–.â€￾

“No, I have on pajamas,â€￾ I chuckled lightly. “I just don’t wanna wake up Chelle. Do you need something?â€￾

“Well it’s kind of late and the family is all downstairs eating breakfast and waiting on you two.â€￾

I turned back to Michelle to make sure she was still knocked out. Yeah, she was gone. We went to a Grizzlies game last night and didn’t get in until late, so I think it’s safe to say that she’ll be asleep for a while. “I’ll come down,â€￾ I told my mom, “but I want Chelle to get her rest.â€￾

“Okay, well I’ll go fix your plate and you hurry on down.â€￾

I did as told and hurried on down to the kitchen where some fraction of my immediate family was situated around the table. “Merry Christmas, everyone,â€￾ I said quietly.

I got a unified “Merry Christmas!â€￾ in return. “Where’s Michelle?â€￾ Sydney asked, rising from the table so that I could sit down.

“She’s still upstairs asleep.â€￾ My mom handed me plate full of French toast, accompanied by a few strips of bacon.

“Well, why didn’t you wake her up? I’m ready to open my gifts.â€￾

“Don’t you have a home?â€￾ I asked. “And don’t they miss you down there?â€￾

“Shut up,â€￾ she smiled, kissing the top of my head. She placed a small box on the table next to my plate. “Merry Christmas.â€￾

“It’s not time to open presents yet,â€￾ I commented.

“I know, but this is a special case, and I want you to open it before Michelle comes down.â€￾

“And this is from me and Syd,â€￾ Jourdyn added.

“There better be some keys in the little ass box,â€￾ I joked, taking a bite of bacon.

“Hurry and open it,â€￾ my mom encouraged.

Slowly, I removed the wrapping paper from the gift to reveal a definite ring box. “What the hell?â€￾

“Hurry up!â€￾ my granny rushed.

I lifted the lid to reveal a small white gold ring with five moderately-sized diamonds encrusted inside the precious metal from left to right. “Umm, thanks?â€￾

“Isn’t it gorgeous?â€￾ Syd beamed.

“Uh, yeah. But why did you get me a woman’s ring?â€￾

“It’s not for you,â€￾ she sighed. “It’s for you to give to Michelle.â€￾


“Well, we all discussed it, and we figured that you just needed a little positive reinforcement... and a ring so that you could propose to her.â€￾

I set the ring box back on the table and glared at the four women in front of me. “You discussed it?â€￾

“Justin, don’t be mad,â€￾ Mama said. “I know what you said, but you know that we only want what’s best for you, sweetie.â€￾

“Um, apparently not.â€￾

“Why don’t you want to marry her, Justin?â€￾

“Because she doesn’t want to get married,â€￾ Michelle said, tottering into the kitchen to save the day. Everyone turned to find her standing in the threshold of the breakfast nook with a smirk on her face and her eyebrow lifted in suspense.

“Good morning, Michelle!â€￾ my mom cooed. “Merry Christmas, sweetie.â€￾

“Merry Christmas, Lynn. Merry Christmas, everyone.â€￾ She walked to the table where my plate sat along with the ring. Just when I was prepared to instinctively protect my French toast from her, she decided to pick up the ring box. “What’s going on here?â€￾

“We were just talking about the two of you getting married,â€￾ Granny informed her. “Come on and sit down and eat, and we’ll talk more about it.â€￾

“Miss Sadie, I thought we agreed that now wasn’t the time for me and Justin to get married.â€￾

“Nonsense, baby. Sit down, get off your feet.â€￾

“With all due respect, I don’t really want to sit down right now.â€￾ She dropped the ring box back onto the table and left the kitchen in a fit of frustration and the light smell of toothpaste.

“See, this is the sh** I’m talkin’ about,â€￾ I told them. “She doesn’t need stress right now and here you go with your stupid rings and assumptions.â€￾

“J, calm down,â€￾ Jourdyn whispered.

“No, listen to me. You, you, you, and you,â€￾ I pointed to each of them individually, “stay out of our damn business.â€￾ I left them to their devices and scanned the house for Michelle, hoping that she didn’t think that I was a part of their cockamamie scheme. I finally found her sitting in her favorite room of the house - the music room - playing random chords on my guitar as it sat in her lap. “Hey,â€￾ I announced.

“It’s not that I don’t want to marry you,â€￾ she replied, softly sniffling. “I just want you to propose because you want to, and not because your mom and best friends think that it’s what you should do. And it’s not–.â€￾

“Listen, don’t worry about them, okay?â€￾ I walked over to her and sat on the piano bench with her, removing my Gibson from her lap. “We’re together right now, and that’s all that matters.â€￾

“I know,â€￾ she whined. “I just – I dunno. I’m ridiculous right now.â€￾

“No, you’re not ridiculous. You’re pregnant,â€￾ I laughed.

“That’s not funny.â€￾

“It was funny.â€￾

She gently nudged my knee with her own leg, and got up from our seat. “You ready to go open gifts?â€￾

“Not if they’re anything like the first gift I got.â€￾

“What was the first gift you got?â€￾

“Sydney and Jourdyn thought it would be fun to give me a ring for you.â€￾

“So, you didn’t buy that ring?â€￾

“Hell no,â€￾ I chuckled.


The tone of her voice was awkward and I couldn’t tell whether she was disappointed or relieved. At any rate, I let it go and turned around on the piano bench. “Well, how about I give you your gift?â€￾

I smiled when her caramel eyes widened in surprise. “You said you didn’t get me anything, you liar.â€￾

“No, I said I didn’t buy you anything.â€￾

“What you talkin’ ‘bout, Justin?â€￾

“Well. â€￾ I picked up my guitar once again, checking to make sure it was in tune before smiling at her. “I’m giving you my heart - the gift of music.â€￾

Smiling wildly, she moved from the bench and sat down on the adjacent loveseat. “You wrote me a song?â€￾

“Um, not exactly.â€￾

“So, what are you talking about?â€￾

“Just listen.â€￾ I strummed out the notes on the guitar before beginning to sing, just to make sure I remembered what I was doing. “Now, I don’t speak French, so forgive me if this comes out crazy.â€￾


“Michelle, ma belle. These are words that go together well. My Michelle.â€￾ I watched as the wide smile on her face dwindled to a grin, but I kept singing. “Michelle, ma belle. Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble.â€￾

I love you, I love you, I love you
That’s all I want to say
Until I find a way
I will say the only words I know that you’ll understand

By the time I finished, she was no longer smiling and seemed actually, rather confused. “That was great,â€￾ she managed to get out.

“Okay, is this morning sickness or what? Because you look miserable.â€￾

“No, I’m great. That was beautiful, babe.â€￾ She gave me a fake grin and bowed her head to rub her stomach. After a few minutes of silence, she finally asked, “Isn’t that a Beatles song?â€￾


“So... you didn’t write me a song?â€￾

“I told you I didn’t, no. But I remade it for you, though. It’s on my album.â€￾

“Oh. The album that you postponed...â€￾


My stupid mouth has got me in trouble
I said too much again

“Oh. Well hey, thanks.â€￾

I softly replaced my guitar back on the floor and eyed her, waiting for more words to escape her lips. “That’s it?â€￾

“What? There’s more?â€￾

“All you have to say is, ‘Hey, thanks’?â€￾

“Yeah. I appreciate it,â€￾ she smiled. With a somewhat sarcastic sigh, she left the music room and joined the area of the house that contained people that were not confused about what just happened.

And I could see she was offended
She said, ‘Well anyway’
Just dying for a subject change
How could I forget mama said, ‘Think before speaking’

The disaster of opening gifts continued into early-afternoon. All of the presents that me and Michelle received from the family were some kind of allusion to getting married. Like, my mom gave the girl her damn veil from when she married my step-dad. I gotta tell you, Michelle was not happy. In the middle of unwrapping her second gift from my parents, she spontaneously combusted into tears. I haven’t seen her since then.

Once the commotion died down, I went and found her in the basement, curled up next to the telephone, and from what I could tell, she was talking to Mama Angie with a melancholic tone to her voice. “What’s wrong with you?â€￾ I whispered, sitting on the brown leather couch next to her.

“Hold on, mom.â€￾ She pressed the hold button, I assume, and turned to me. “Nothing is ‘wrong’ with me. Why?â€￾

“You ran out of the room crying and no one knows why. I think it’s safe to say that something is wrong.â€￾

“I’m fine,â€￾ she grinned. “But could you do me a favor?â€￾

“Yeah, sure. Anything.â€￾

“I need you to take me to the airport.â€￾

“Okay...â€￾ What the hell is she talking about? “Why do you need me to take you to the airport?â€￾

“Oh, because I’m going home.â€￾


“Yeah, I’m gonna hop on a flight to Texas and spend the rest of the holidays with my real family.â€￾ With that, she went back to conversation with her mother.

Texas? Her real family? What?

And I can see clearly, an indelible line was drawn
Between what was good, what just slipped out and what went wrong

We arrived at the emptiness of Memphis International Airport a couple of hours after Chelle informed me that she was leaving. Toting her big ass purse, as well as the big ass suitcase that could’ve been mistaken for a damn bodybag, we slowly headed up the escalator to Delta’s check-in.

“You know, I thought you weren’t supposed to fly,â€￾ I commented as we stood in the short line.

“It’ll be okay,â€￾ she replied absently. “Can you get my ID from my purse?â€￾ With a roll of my eyes, I handed her her whole damn bag and moved up in the line. It was finally her turn to ask me what was wrong. “What’s your issue?â€￾

“My ‘issue’ is that you’re leaving me. On Christmas. To be with your ‘real family.’â€￾

“That bothers you?â€￾


“Why? It’s nothing against you. I’d just rather be somewhere that I’m comfortable right now.â€￾

“And since when aren’t you comfortable with me?â€￾

“Oh, it’s not you, sweetie.â€￾ We moved to the check-in desk and our conversation ceased while she spoke to the ticket agent. Once her boarding pass was in her hand, she coerced me towards a vacant corner of the lobby so that she could sit down. “I’m sorry.â€￾

I stared at her blankly, unsure of what exactly she was sorry about. These damn mood swings are killin’ me. “For what?â€￾

“I know that I’m confusing you right now. Trust me, I realize that half the things I’ve said haven’t made any sense lately. But that’s why I think I need to just go home and get away from everything for a couple of days.â€￾

“And by ‘everything,’ you’re referring to me?â€￾

“No, I told you, it’s not you, Justin.â€￾

“Then, what?â€￾

“Your mom, your grandma, Jourdyn, Sydney, the pressure - they’re driving me insane.â€￾

“Why? Why are you letting them get to you?â€￾

“Because it feels like they blame me for us not being engaged or whatever,â€￾ she said, beginning to cry. “It’s like - I mean, I know how mom’s view their sons... and your mom especially. They think you’re perfect and any woman that comes in and taints that perfect image is just... I dunno. I don’t even know what I’m talking about.â€￾

Good, because I don’t either. “Michelle, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what that means.â€￾

“I know. I’m sorry.â€￾

“Don’t apologize. I just wish I knew how to fix whatever problem it is that you’re having. - That we’re having.â€￾

“It’s not a problem. It’s a - I don’t know.â€￾ She wiped the tears streaming down her eyes. “You know what? I should probably just go and wait at the gate.â€￾ She rose from the cerulean seat that she uncomfortably sat in, willing me to stand up with her. “Come on and gimme a hug.â€￾

I’m so confused right now. I don’t know what she’s thinking, what she’s talking about, or why the hell she’s leaving, but I somehow convinced myself that she actually needed to go. Anything to save us from the anguish of splitting up again. I bent down to enfold her in my arms. “Are we gonna meet back up in New York, or what?â€￾

“I’ll call you.â€￾ She squeezed tighter and I feared that she was about to let go. How did something that was so perfect, not more than 24 hours ago, turn into such a huge ball of confusion? “Merry Christmas, Justin.â€￾

I gave her a light peck on the side of her forehead, letting my lips fall to hers in a few small, short kisses. “Merry Christmas.â€￾ Silently, she departed from my arms and I watched with a heavy heart and discombobulated mind while she stood in the security line, waiting for her bag to be checked. I gotta say, I’m a little sick of the brokenhearted airport scene. “Michelle, wait,â€￾ I called out to her.

She turned to me in slight alarm, as did the few people that were in line with her. “What’s wrong?â€￾

“Can you come here for a minute?â€￾

“Justin, I have a flight to catch.â€￾


She hesitantly moved from the line, bumping random people along the way with her stomach, and finally stood before me with a dazed look to her hazel eyes. She ran her soft hand along my face and offered a warm smile. “Are you okay?â€￾

“Yeah.â€￾ I took her hand and led her away from the crowd of people that was forming. “Listen, I know that this is weird in light of everything we’ve gone through and said in the past couple of days, but I love you, Michelle. And that’s not ever going to change.â€￾

“I love you, too,â€￾ she smiled with a chuckle. “But I really have to go.â€￾

“Wait, I’m not done.â€￾ And that’s when I did it. I threw away my pride, fear of rejection, and probably any sanity that I might have had left. I dropped to the floor, resting on my left knee, still holding Michelle’s hand in mine. “Michelle, will you marry me?â€￾</span></span></span>

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Postby SiMPLYiNSYNC » Fri Dec 24, 2004 3:23 pm

:jawdrop: UH, AWESOME! Gosh, I'm crying. :cry: He did it! :yay: :yay: I hope she says "Yes" and not say no because she thinks he's only doin it because of everybody else. My goshhhhhhh, I LOVE YOU ASHLEY. :notworthy: You are THE sh**.

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Postby mtvjunkie » Fri Dec 24, 2004 4:34 pm

Ash, sweetpea, can I marry you? :pray: You made my Christmas, although I have a horrible feeling she's gonna say no :unsure: but I'm glad Justin is doing it for their good and not everyone else's :nod:

And yeah, that was a long chapter, in fact I had Christmas Eve dinner halfway through reading it, but I loved every word and got indigestion because I ate so fast. Seriously, after this comment I think I'm gonna lie down :no:

Now have a happy Christmas, then update

Ooh! Can I come to the possible wedding?

EDIT: I came back from my lie down and realised I forgot these:

:notworthy: :clap: :notworthy: :clap: :notworthy: :clap: :notworthy: :clap: :notworthy: :clap: :notworthy: :clap: :notworthy: :clap: :notworthy: :clap:

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Postby whatchagot4meMRJT » Fri Dec 24, 2004 9:01 pm

:o She better say yes, eventually, even if it takes ten more chapters for her to make up her mind. :lol: Because, dude, it's Chelle and Justin. That's the way it is. Some things never change.

Man, I was really feeling Michelle's discomfort with everyone insisting that they should be getting married. You just get back together with the guy, and you have to process all of the marriage talk ... uh, NO! :no:

Although, at the same time, I loved all the women in Justin's family pestering him to propose to her. :rofl: You know they ain't right in the head when they bought him the ring. :rolleyes: Ladies, cool your jets. Give the boy some time. :P

Way to go on hiatus and leave us with the ultimate cliffhanger, ma. <_< Yeah, I'll just be sitting here making up my own scenarios in my head until you return. B) :D :lol:

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Postby BabyBlue2578 » Sun Dec 26, 2004 5:11 pm

<span style='color:gray'>:lol: I should've left it there, Paige. But nah, I couldn't do that to y'all! I had planned to post another one after this, but as time winds down, I doubt that'll be happening. Sooo, I hope y'all enjoy this one. :unsure: Oh, I'm sad. this is my last fanfiction chapter for 2004. Aww. :( No, I'll stop being a dork. There's oh so much more to come. :lol:

And so since I am leaving for the next few weeks, I'd like to redirect y'all to one of my favorite stories as of late, nsyncfiction.com/viewstory.php?sid=3351Love & Trust. I think it's just the cutest story and the girl that writes it is my homeslice. So if you're going through fanfic withdrawal, I recommend it. :nod: :D

Again, I'd like to thank all you guys that have supported me in my fanfiction endeavors this year. You've inspired me to be and encouraged me to be better, and I think you should know that I truly appreciate it. :notworthy: So thank you. :hug: And so now, I'll shut up. Happy New Year! ^_^</span>

<span style='color:dodgerblue'><span style='font-family:bernhardfashion bt'><span style='font-size:17pt;line-height:100%'>7 - “When It Comes To December, It’s Obvious Whyâ€￾</span></span></span>

<span style='font-family:georgia'><span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'><span style='color:black'>Michelle looked down at me seeming both flustered and flattered at the same time, as the crowd in the airport began to take on a life of it’s own. “What?â€￾

Well, I was already on the floor. No turning back now. “Will you marry me?â€￾ I repeated.

She ran her free hand across her messy curls and gave me an awkward grin. “Are you serious?â€￾


“No, you’re not.â€￾

“Yes, I’m serious. I love you, Chelle.â€￾

“I love you, too.â€￾ Her eyes darted back and forth across the crowd and she then gazed back down at me. She nodded her head subtly, smiling as she did.

“Is that a ‘yes’?â€￾

Her nodding continued while the surrounding audience clapped and cheered, leaving me with a sense of ‘Is-this-really-happening?’ I wasn’t expecting that. Bringing me back to reality, very softly she said, “But get off the floor.â€￾


“Get up,â€￾ she restated quietly, letting go of my hand. She waited for me to rise to my 6'2 stance and pulled my face to hers, whispering in my ear, “We need to talk. But I’m gonna kiss you now so that these people will go away.â€￾ She smiled glowingly and rested her soft lips over my confused ones while the crowd persisted in cheering for us.

We pulled apart and she led me away from everyone into the tranquility of the McDonald’s/Cinnabon area. “And what is it that we need to talk about?â€￾ I finally asked.

“Sit down,â€￾ she directed. “I’m gonna get a cinnamon roll.â€￾

I watched while she slowly made her way around the empty wraparound line to get her food and then angelically took her seat across from me at the small table. “Okay, so what just happened?â€￾

“That’s what I wanna know,â€￾ she chuckled. “I mean, have you heard anything I’ve said in the past two days?â€￾

“Well yeah, but I thought you were just saying that ‘cause you thought I didn’t wanna get married.â€￾

“No, Justin. I have this pesky little habit of saying how I feel.â€￾

Yeah, right. “So, is that why you just said ‘yes’ to marrying me?â€￾

“First of all, I didn’t say anything. Secondly, I was back there nodding like a bobble head because I didn’t want to embarrass you in front of all those nosy ass people.â€￾

“So does that mean that your answer is ‘no’?â€￾

She shrugged, smiling innocently. “I’m sorry.â€￾

“No, it’s cool. At least my mom can’t say I didn’t try,â€￾ I chuckled awkwardly.

We bit our lips, she looked out the window
Rolling tiny balls of napkin paper
I played a quick game of chess with the salt and pepper shaker

After a couple of minutes of silence while she devoured her cinnamon roll, she gave me another small grin and hoisted her big Louis Vuitton purse onto her shoulder. “Well, maybe I should go to the gate now. My flight leaves in about thirty minutes.â€￾

The way she feels about me has changed
Thanks for playing, try again

“Yeah,â€￾ I said, quickly hopping up from the table. “Wouldn’t want you to miss your flight.â€￾

She graciously squeezed my hand as we walked back to the security checkpoint, where travelers were still happy and cheering for us. “You gonna be okay?â€￾

Oh, yeah. As soon as I get my heart repaired. “Yeah, I’m fine.â€￾

I’m never speaking up again
It only hurts me
I’d rather be a mystery than she desert me

“I really do love you, so don’t think any different because of all this, okay?â€￾

“I know, Chelle. Don’t even worry about it.â€￾

It felt like I’d been wrapped up in deja vu as she let her hand trail across my face and we were once again saying goodbye to one another. “I’ll call you when I land.â€￾

I nodded in compliance and kissed the top of her hand just before letting it go. “See you later?â€￾

“Later,â€￾ she agreed. She then disappeared into the crowd of accompanying travelers at the security gate, leaving me to watch in torment. I was tempted to ingeminate the moment we’d shared about twenty minutes ago and call out for her to wait. But this time, I had nothing to say - no reason for her to stay.

Oh, I’m never speaking up again
Starting now

I dejectedly took a seat at one of the many seats behind security and waited the thirty minutes for her plane to take off. No, I didn’t wait in hopes of her coming back. It’s just a habit I have when I drop people off at an airport. It’s easier than coming back and trying to find a parking space in case anything goes wrong.

Once I was reassured that Flight 760 was off to Austin, I moped back through the dreary parking lot, prepared to go back home to a house full of women that will badger me some more about marriage, monogamy and all that crap. I went, in what seemed like circles, searching for my granddad’s champagne-colored Caddy. It wasn’t surprising since I always forget where I parked, but I think that my frustration only added to the confusion.

“You sure do give up easily.â€￾ I’d finally found the car and was scanning my pockets for the keys when I heard that voice behind me - that perfect voice that can fix anything and everything with the right words.

I turned around quickly, making sure I wasn’t dreaming. Sure enough, there she was smiling back at me with twinkling caramel eyes. “Michelle, what are you doing?â€￾

“I’m spending Christmas with my family,â€￾ she replied, placing her purse on top of the car. She took my hands into hers and pulled herself into my embrace. “Let’s go home.â€￾

And those were definitely the right words. I gave her the brightest smile I could find and kissed her gently across her lips. “I knew you couldn’t stay away.â€￾

“Oh, is that so? That’s why you’re crying your way to the car, right?â€￾

“Uh, ‘scuse you. I’m not cryin’.â€￾

“Sulking, crying - same difference.â€￾ She let go of my cool hands and picked up her bag from the car. “Come on, let’s go before we miss dinner.â€￾

“I have a better idea. Why don’t we go to our own home?â€￾

“Dude, it’s like five o’clock,â€￾ she grinned. “By the time you get your stuff and we catch a flight, we won’t be home until 11:00.â€￾

“True. But if I don’t go home to get my stuff, we charter a plane and leave now, we can be home by 9:00 at the latest.â€￾

“But it’s Christmas. Where do you expect to find a plane right now?â€￾

“Hey. We can either go home and deal with my mom, my granny, and those other two people that won’t leave my house, or we can hit up a private plane and bounce.â€￾

It didn’t take her long to make that choice. We bounced.


<span style='color:dodgerblue'>Justin was right. Within the hour, the two of us were sittin’ pretty on a private jet, headed back to my New York apartment. There was honestly no other place I would’ve wanted to be. I only pretended to want to leave him so as to maintain some sense of a normal Christmas. Between his family talking about marriage and my mom being upset about me not coming home as once planned, I thought that my leaving could alleviate everyone’s issues.

I didn’t realize until I was sitting on that plane to Texas next to an empty seat that I was about ten minutes from ruining my own Christmas if that plane took off with me on it. Even if I did have to endure the agony of Mama Lynn shoving a ring in my face, at least I would’ve had Justin’s presence to comfort me.

Now, we were finally as we should be, side-by-side, away from the outside world, and literally flying the night away. I held onto his strong hand as I gazed out of the window at Christmas in... well, whatever city we were passing over.

“You look happy,â€￾ he acknowledged, leaning in to whisper in my ear as if we weren’t the only two people in the cabin.

“I am happy.â€￾ I turned my head from the window so that I could kiss whatever spot my lips happened to find, and gave him a genuine smile. “Thank you.â€￾

“You’re very welcome. But okay, just so I’m clear, what are you thanking me for?â€￾

I laughed because that was such a Justin kind of question. “I’m thanking you for giving me a Merry Christmas. In spite of all the madness we’ve put ourselves through this year, it all managed to amount to this perfect moment. And if it weren’t because of your selflessness and willingness to put your career on hold, I’d be alone right now. I’d be wishing that we were sharing a plane to New York instead of actually experiencing it, so thank you.â€￾

He turned our intertwined hands around and examined mine with contentment finding his soft features. “I guess I should thank you for just taking part in this crazy year with me, huh?â€￾

“I think that it was just as much my doing as it was yours. You know, besides the whole ‘I don’t think we should ever see each other again’ thing.â€￾
“I did not say that,â€￾ he laughed.

“Eh. Semantics.â€￾

“Yeah, well it’s all in the pa–.â€￾

He was interrupted by the plane’s co-pilot, Kevin, finding his way into the cabin with us. “I’m sorry to interrupt,â€￾ he began, inflicting his country twang upon us, “but we just got word that there’s a snowstorm closing in on the tri-state area - that being New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut - so we’re gonna have to land in Philadelphia until it blows on through.â€￾

I could feel Justin’s hand tense up and the last thing I wanted was for him to blow up on this poor man that had to work for us on Christmas. “That’s fine,â€￾ I interjected before Justin could say anything. “Thank you for informing us.â€￾

“I’m very sorry. But we’ll try and have you in New York as soon as possible.â€￾

“Thanks,â€￾ I smiled, watching the pilot disappear back into the cockpit. Again, before Justin could speak, I said, “Don’t be mad.â€￾

“But Chelle,â€￾ he whined, “who knows how long we could be sitting in Philly.â€￾

“So what? We’ll be together for Christmas, and that’s all that should matter, babe.â€￾ I kissed his hand reassuringly and leaned into him, resting my head on his shoulder.

“You know, I don’t like it when you’re right.â€￾

“Well, sweetheart, if you just get used to the fact that I’m always right, you won’t have a problem.â€￾


Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight

Hours later, we were still parked on the crowded runway of Philadelphia’s Louis Borne Airport, waiting out the storm. I rested my head against the small oval window, watching as raindrops beat against the glass while Justin scanned the refrigerator for something we could eat - well, something I could eat.

“There wasn’t much of a selection here,â€￾ he commented, taking a seat on the carpeted floor below me. “So do you want the chocolate chip cookies or the sugar cookies?â€￾

I smiled at him, knowing that he knew the answer. When he handed me both packages of cookies, I blew him a kiss and a gracious, “Thank you.â€￾
“You gotta gimme at least one.â€￾

“You know gimme got shot like four or five minutes ago?â€￾

“May I have a cookie,â€￾ he laughed, rolling his eyes.

“Merry Christmas,â€￾ I smiled, handing him a sugar cookie after taking a bite of it.

He gladly accepted, delving into it as if he hadn’t eaten in days. “You know, I don’t think you were very appreciative of the gift I gave to you.â€￾

“No, I honestly loved it. I was just... I don’t really know what was wrong with me.â€￾

“You didn’t like it.â€￾

“No I told you, I loved it. I love how you gave it your own little blues flair. I think I was still fazed by your mom and everything.â€￾

“Well, if it makes you feel any better, I actually did write you a song that is on my album.â€￾

He better have. “Sing it to me,â€￾ I smiled, resting my feet over his thighs.


“Why not?â€￾

“Because I want you to get the full effect when you hear it on the album.â€￾

“Oh, come on. Just give me a little taste.â€￾

“Nope.â€￾ He winked and took my foot into his hands, pulling off my Diesels to massage the underside of my tired toes. “Sit back and relax, babe.â€￾

He had barely even done anything and I was already melting into his touch. I did as told and fell into the recline of my seat, indulging in his strong fingers against the ball of my foot. Man, this is even better than sex. If he keeps this up, the next four months will be a breeze. “That is perfect,â€￾ I moaned, staring at the ceiling of the plane. Softly, his hands went trailing up my ankle and to my leg, edging me closer to reverie with every passing second.

And then, as if the pleasure wasn’t awesome enough, his gorgeous voice began to titillate my stream of conscious hearing. “I never knew such a day could come. I never knew such a love could be inside of one. And I never what my life was for, but now that you’re here, I know for sure.â€￾ His voice was a beautifully soft color as it painted the melody of the song. He switched to my left foot, continuing his serenade. “I never knew ‘til I looked in your eyes, I wasn’t complete ‘til the day you walked into my life. And I never knew that my heart could feel so precious and pure - one love so real.â€￾

Tears fell from my eyes as I watched him, concentrated on what he does best: loving me. His heartfelt words, accompanied by his random act of kindness - how could I have said ‘no’ to marrying this man? I hated to interrupt him, but maybe marriage wasn’t such a bad idea... “Justin, I–.â€￾

He put a quieting index finger to his tiny lips and proceeded with his singing and massaging. “Can I just see you every morning when I open my eyes? Can I just feel your heart beating beside me every night? Can we just feel this way together ‘til the end of all time? Can I just spend my life with you?â€￾ He let my feet fall back to the tops of his thighs and smiled up at me in satisfaction. “I love you.â€￾

“I love you more.â€￾

“See, why you always gotta ruin stuff with competitiveness.â€￾

“I’m not being competitive. I do love you more. With every second that passes,â€￾ I grinned, poking him with my foot.â€￾

“Nice save.â€￾

“Yeah well. It’s my job.â€￾

“One that you do very well, might I add.â€￾

“Why, thank you.â€￾

“Yeah, I saw you on Access Hollywood last week talkin’ about JC and his Miami incident.â€￾

“Hey, you know how it goes. What happens tour stays on tour.â€￾

“Ah, yes. The doctrine of every publicist in the world.â€￾

I chuckled, sighing at my happy feet. “You ever get into those moments whe–,â€￾ I paused suddenly and felt my stomach, darting my eyes around in suspense. “Oh my God.â€￾

Justin hopped up from the floor in panic. “What? What’s wrong? Did something happen to the baby?â€￾


“Chelle, if something is wrong, tell me â€￾

“Calm down, Justin.â€￾

“No, te–.â€￾

I grabbed his frenzied hand and placed it over my stomach, and then rested my own hand over his, smiling up at him. “You feel that?â€￾

He nodded obliviously. “That’s amazing.â€￾

“I know. You should feel it from my side,â€￾ I laughed.

“How often does this happen?â€￾

“This is only the third time. He won’t start moving on a regular basis until maybe mid-January.â€￾

“Wow.â€￾ He took a seat back on the floor, keeping a steady hand on my belly, smiling with every motion. “Man, he is really goin’ at it. Why is he kicking you so much?â€￾

“Probably because I just ate.â€￾

“My God, that is amazing.â€￾

“Merry Christmas in there,â€￾I whispered.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yuletide gay

Justin finally vacated the floor and relocated to his seat next to me, resting his chin on my shoulder. “How much longer do you think we’ll have to sit here?â€￾

“Who cares.â€￾

From now on, our troubles will be miles away

“I care. I don’t wanna spend the last,â€￾ he paused to check his watch, “four minutes of Christmas sitting on an airplane.â€￾

“I’d spend the last four minutes of my life sitting on an airplane. And I’d be happy as long as I was with you.â€￾

“Chelle, you’re gonna make me cry,â€￾ he stated dramatically.

“Oh yeah, that was a good one.â€￾

“It was.â€￾

“In fact, I think I deserve a kiss for that one.â€￾

Here we are
As in olden days
Happy, golden days of yore

Without any extraneous words, he let his lips fall onto my right cheek in a simple kiss that dangled in the moment for what I wish had been forever. I closed my eyes and curled up into the small space between my seat and the window, prepared to fall asleep. Justin, with his hand remaining on my stomach, took the same form and curled up next to me as if I were his pillow. I don’t know what it was about that that made me so happy, but it did. Perhaps it was because I knew that he felt as comfortable leaning on me as I did with him. Maybe because it was me realizing that we actually were in that place that I’d so assiduously denied us of. We are a good idea in theory, and we do work together... Even if the sweater he’s wearing with those jeans doesn’t.

Through the years, we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

I took one last glance at him, already fast asleep. He was just as angelic as the precious life inside of me. I figured it out: It made me happy because at the end of the day, we’re not so f***ed up after all. I held the top of his hand and closed my eyes to enjoy the peacefulness of our family. This is my real family. Merry Christmas indeed, my loves.

And everybody, it seems to me, just wants to be just like you and me
No one wants to be alone at Christmastime

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Postby whatchagot4meMRJT » Sun Dec 26, 2004 5:30 pm

Awwwwww! She came back and didn't get on the plane to Texas. Yay!!!! :yay: BUT ... she still hasn't agreed to marry him. :nono: Make her say YES! I know, I know ... next chapter. :lol:

Too bad they got stuck in Philly and didn't make it home to New York, but there was a lot of happiness and love being shared on that plane, so it's all good when you're in the presence of the one you really love. :wub:

Beautiful song he sung her. And the baby kicked! ^_^ Papa Justin's voice has that same effect on me. :rofl:

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Postby Angelpopstar7 » Mon Dec 27, 2004 12:25 pm

dang i have a lot to comment on since i haven't been here in ages so i had 3 chapters to read :rofl: i'll try not to make it too long tho

Justin boy don't be leavin Chelle hanging for Renece...Chelle is your babies momma hun....and then when you come home you have the audacity to come home after you said you would and without the tree...boy you gotta learn

Dang mama lynn, grandma sadie, jourdyn, syd....don't they think that they're being just a lil bit pushy...i mean if you push someone to do something it usally takes them longer to do whatever it is you want them to do in the end :nod: and buying justin the ring for her...my word people take a chill pill ahhh

and then justin proposed to her and she said yes but then no....ahhh its all soooo screwed up...Chelle just be a woman and admit that you wanna marry the guy....we all know that you want to now you just need to tell him....but at least she didn't go to texas :yay: thats always good and they're stuck in philly now? on a plane of all things? but the most important thing is that they're together :yay: and Justin feeling the baby kick :wub: soo cute :wub: :wub: :wub:

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Postby PreCiouSbAbY » Mon Dec 27, 2004 7:00 pm

<span style='color:purple'><span style='font-family:Arial'>am I the only one confused as to why she didn't go to Texas? :blink: Isn't Texas where her mother stays? Go home, and visit her dear mama for xmas, for Christsake! Poor mama. :no: And take Justin with you, and then go to NYC. I feel bad for her mom, I feel like going to visit her myself. :lol:

Anyway, continue on... </span></span>

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Postby jts_senorita » Tue Dec 28, 2004 11:46 pm

K, I just printed out the last 3 chapters for me to read in bed. And it's gonna take like 80 pages so they better be good! <_<

Just kidding! I know they'll be awesome. And well worth all my supplies of ink and paper. :nod: :lol:

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Postby justins bubbles » Wed Dec 29, 2004 2:27 am

<span style='color:blue'>Girl, why you be bustin' out Renece like that? Huh? She's a good-for-nothin' type of hobag. :lol: :kiss: But good for Chelle finally telling Justin that she loves him... like that. ^_^

And chapter six, what confusion! What do you say to the boy after all of his family's antics?! AHH! Great chapter and I'm glad I didn't have to wait for the next.

7: Oh you could end the story right there and I'd be more than happy. ^_^ That's just how I love them... together at peace. Oh and the Babylake kicked. I could just imagine his boney fingers rubbing her belly! :wub: And I absolutely loved the line: His voice was a beautifully soft color as it painted the melody of the song. :clap: Well done!

I guess it's off to Surreal World now... :wave: Amazing job, Chelle. I'm so proud.

--Phae :crossfingers:</span>

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Postby mtvjunkie » Wed Dec 29, 2004 2:57 pm

^_^ ^_^ ^_^ You have no idea what light you brought into my day Ash :hug: THANK YOU! for letting them be so darn cute and endearing and wonderful and glowing and human and romantic.

That song was just :wub: and just what I needed to calm my proposal nerves :lol: It was absolutely adorable the way Justin got to feel the baby kick, that baby is awesome by the way :nod: I think it should be called... :thinking: Helena. Whatever happened to her anyways? :confused: How rude of Pharell :no: :lol:

And I agree with Bubs that logging back on and finding two updates kicks arse, I hate waiting so get a stepping :nono: :P

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Postby laura » Mon Jan 10, 2005 4:44 am

<span style='color:green'>i know i suck at leaving feedback because it never really expresses how much i love what im reading.....but know that i do....
those chapters took me a while to get finished!!! And they were so worth the read...aw i love jordyn and syd....i mean i :wub: chelle and j too but those two are priceless characters!!!! always so fraking funny.... :D love it!
when are you back girl???? :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: </span>

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Postby BabyBlue2578 » Sun Jan 16, 2005 9:12 pm

<span style='color:ff0099'>:wave:Okay, so I'm in lazy mode again today. :lol: I'm just posting the link to the chapter. http://rockstar.tasting-eden.com/ht_8.htmChapter 8.

And if you get a chance, check out the new Justin & Michelle site. http://rockstar.tasting-eden.com/love_actually.htmLove Actually.</span>

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Postby whatchagot4meMRJT » Mon Jan 17, 2005 8:25 am

:yay: Hooray for the return of everyone's favorite couple. I am sure glad to have this update. :hug:

Pregnancy messes you up like a mofo if Chelle is any indication. :rofl: Damn woman! Buy a bigger dress next time. :lol: Nah, just kidding. Being pregnant takes a toll on your energy -- I get that, but she just has to put up with the bad to give birth to her beautiful child, and that my friends is GOOD. :wub:

I as rolling when Justin wanted to slap her. :rofl: Slapping his baby's mama -- that's an all-time low, even for him. :lol: However, I wanna slap people all the time, so I feel him. :P

I'm just happy that all of their grumbling can be resolved with a sweet kiss. ^_^ They get along a lot better than they think do. :nod:

P.S. Love that beautiful site, actually!!!! ;) :P :lol:

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Postby JTnTN » Mon Jan 17, 2005 2:05 pm

Girl, that site is amazing! Where you gettin' all these skills from, huh? I'm supposed to be the talented one in the family. :lol: :P I guess I lost that title when She Got Me started though, huh? ;) The main site looks great, too. I tagged you, so you best to respond. :D

As for this chapter. Dude, Michelle. Get a grip! Poor Justin having to deal with that psycho b****. :no: They're too funny though. I love that they just talk to each other like whatever, and then all Justin has to do is sing a song to get out of trouble. ^_^

I almost feel bad for her, though. It has to suck being huge when you're used to being this tiny little thing all your life. Especially when you have to stand next to Justin Timberlake. :no: This chapter reminded me of Jersey Girl when they were going to the VMAs and J.Lo wanted to be a coked up whore. :lol: Awesome, Ash. Keep it coming!


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Postby jts_senorita » Mon Jan 17, 2005 2:30 pm

Aw, an update! I'm so happy. :D Oh dear, Justin and Michelle sure have their low points. But it's all worth it because they trully love each other. :nod: Great ending with the kiss. :wub:

LOL. I too, totally get moments of wanting to hit someone. But them I'm like... I shouldn't be thinking this... it can't be right. :no:

Anyways... More, more, more! :lol:

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Postby Angelpopstar7 » Tue Jan 18, 2005 11:21 am

thankfully you have an update for us :lol: and it was an awesome one at that

those d a m n hormones...poor Michelle...my cousin is in the same position as her...shes due on March 4th i believe and back at Thanksgiving she was like 'i want this baby out of me now' because she was freakin huge then...and we're having her baby shower this sunday so it'll be interesting to see how much bigger shes gotten :lol: anywho back to your story lol

But i do feel bad for the girl....going from a size 6 to 14 must have been hard to do...and shes only like 6 months along...shes gonna get a lot bigger...poor justin near the end of her pregnancy :no: lol

i'm sure that their party was a kick a s s party..they should have invited the same people as jive because i'm pretty sure that they would have chose J party over Jives but ya never know :shrug:

When Justin was saying he wanted to slap her that reminded me of Baby Boy when Tyreese slaps one of his babies mama even after he promises that he'd never do it so lets just hope that Justin isn't the same way :unsure: MORE PLEASE!

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Postby mtvjunkie » Wed Jan 19, 2005 4:10 pm


I'm not a violent person ;) but I get feelings of wanting to whack innocent people too, but then again, maybe I have issues :shrug: :lol: Actually that sounds more likely :thinking:

OH! So back to the story :lol: I was so worried they'd break up :unsure: You really freaked me out, they've only just got together for crying out loud :lol: I loved how they kinda forgot all their troubles at midnight :wub:

Now update :nod:

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Postby BabyBlue2578 » Wed Jan 19, 2005 9:26 pm

<span style='color:gray'>:wave: Hola, mamacitas. Got another chapter. And yes, this one is actually posted. :lol: I hope you're enjoying them. With each update, we get closer and closer to the end. :nervous:. Well, now that I've ruined the light mood here, you may read. :D </span>

<span style='font-family:bernhardfashion bt'><span style='font-size:17pt;line-height:100%'><span style='color:dodgerblue'>9 - How Come Everything Comes With Batteries?</span></span></span>

<span style='font-family:georgia'><span style='font-size:10pt;line-height:100%'><span style='color:black'>Come January, we’re frozen inside
Making new resolutions a hundred times

So, okay, I woke up this morning and guess who wasn’t lying next to me. My six-month pregnant girlfriend. I realize that this shouldn’t be a huge cause for concern, but I think it does legitimately merit a slight discomfort. You know why? Because she went to work. I mean, really, who in their right mind goes into a stressful job like public relations - for a huge star, mind you - at three months from their due date. I understand tying up some loose ends, but dude, she’s been gone all day.

The TRL time of day was settling in which meant that I was on my way to boredom, so I removed myself from the couch to track down the phone and make my fourth, presumably failing, attempt at getting Michelle on the phone. Just when I said her name into the cordless phone, the sound of her high-heeled boots against the wooden panels outside the apartment, followed by the jingle of her keys, told me that my call would soon be pointless. So I threw the phone to a random decorative table on my way to the door and swung it open to reveal her standing before me in her baby blue peacoat, smiling tiredly when her hazel eyes met mine.

I’m not alone
I wish I was
‘Cause then I’d know I was down because
I couldn’t find a friend around
To love me like they do right now

She politely handed me her large purse and eventually her coat, stepping out of the hallway and into the large, but warm apartment. “Hey, you.â€￾

“Good evening,â€￾ I answered, feeling more like a butler than a boyfriend. “How was your day?â€￾

She went straight for the kitchen with me following behind, scanning the cabinets for something to satisfy her overzealous appetite. “Oh, God. It was hectic,â€￾ she sighed, pulling a loaf of bread from the basket. It was followed by a jar of chunky Skippy and a banana from the waiting bunch on the black marble countertop. “I spent the whole train ride home trying to pinpoint the moment where JC became like, obscenely famous, ‘cause that is definitely the moment that my phone started ringing. And it hasn’t stopped.â€￾

“Well what did you think would happen when you put an *NSYNC member and a Desperate Housewife together?â€￾ I smirked.

“Oh, honey, I had nothing to do with that. You know JC isn’t down for publicity stunts.â€￾

“That’s not what Sydney thought.â€￾

She finished making her peanut butter and banana sandwich, throwing her knife into the sink and sucking the excess PB from her index finger. “Oh, that’s only because she’s used to hanging around you,â€￾ she smiled, leaving the kitchen with her plate.

Well what the f*** is that supposed to mean? “Sweetheart, if you remember correctly, you were the one setting me up with the TRL ho and tryin’ to get me in trouble with Britney.â€￾

“And didn’t I apologize for that?â€￾

Her unusually light mood was beginning to annoy me. It was slightly condescending. “Yeah, but you’re acting like it was my idea.â€￾

“No, I’m not saying anything like that,â€￾ she reassured me, twisting carefully so that she could sit on the sofa comfortably. “But I mean, there was that whole Paige deal. And yes, I know that wasn’t your fault. But you did agree to the Alyssa Milano and Cameron Diaz things. And only God knows what else.â€￾

“And your point is?â€￾

“My point is that JC would never do anything like that. He met Eva all on his own and fostered that relationship with her. All I do is keep the two of them in and out of trouble.â€￾

Yeah, I don’t even remember what we were talking about now. I sat down in the recliner across from her, accepting her side of the argument, and turned back to the large plasma screen in front of us. “I missed you today.â€￾

“You did?â€￾ she grinned. “That’s so sweet.â€￾

“How come you didn’t tell me that you were going to work?â€￾

“I stilll have another month before my official maternity leave starts. I thought you knew that.â€￾

“I didn’t.â€￾

“I’m just trying to get everything out of the way that I can.â€￾

“So you’re gonna work the whole month?â€￾

“Probably for the most part, yeah.â€￾

“You don’t think that’s too stressful on you?â€￾

“Stop worrying, babe.â€￾ She took a series of large bites from her sandwich, gazing absently at the television and then looked back to me. “Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask you, were you invited to the Grammy’s?â€￾

“What?â€￾ Is she really asking me this?

“I mean, I know you can go, but are you doing anything at the Grammy’s, like presenting or anything? Your song came out too late to be nominated, right?â€￾

Yeah, thanks for reminding me. “Yeah.â€￾

“So are you introducing anything?â€￾

“Uh. I’m not sure.â€￾

“Well when will you know? Because I wanted to ask you and Heather if you’d wanna present JC’s performance.â€￾

“Oh, really.â€￾

“Yeah, but I mean, if you have something else to do, I can try and find someone else.â€￾

I gave her an unsure look. I don’t know what to say to that. I mean, not that I think I’m above introducing one of my best friends at an award show, but now, I find myself trying to pinpoint the moment where JC became obscenely famous, as well. Somewhere along the line, our tables turned and I became something close to infamous. I’m supposed to meet with Barry and all the other bigwigs at Jive to officially announce the postponement of my album and do all that rescheduling crap, but now, I’m beginning to question whether that’s actually the right thing to do. Maybe everyone was right. Maybe I did make a horrible mistake.

Something’s missing and I don’t know how to fix it
Something’s missing and I don’t know what it is at all


<span style='color:dodgerblue'>Polishing off my before-dinner snack, I watched Justin do what he does best and slip into a realm that only he can exist in. I think I know what I said to piss him off and/or make him think, but I’m never completely sure when it comes to him. He could be mad because I used too much peanut butter for all I know.

“You okay over there?â€￾ I asked him.

He immediately shook himself free of whatever confining thoughts he was in the middle of and gave me a forced smile. “Yeah, I’m good.â€￾

“You sure?â€￾


“So what did you do today?â€￾

“Not much. I went to The Village this morning and got a few books, stopped at this grilled cheese restaurant and scanned through them and then came back here and basically vegged out on the couch for a few hours.â€￾

“You went into public? Alone?â€￾


“Did you take the subway? Or a cab?â€￾

“Subway,â€￾ he beamed.

“I’m amazed â€￾

“Yeah. I just pulled a hat on and hoped that I wouldn’t get mistaken for Kevin Federline,â€￾ he smiled.

“You just ain’t right in the head,â€￾ I cackled loudly, placing my plate on the coffee table in front of me. “That’s funny, though.â€￾

He gave me that goofy grin that magically illuminates his entire face. “You know me.â€￾

“That is true,â€￾ I nodded in confirmation.

“So anyway, I was over on Canal today,â€￾ he began, “‘cause you know I got lost on the train, and there was this little furniture shop that I thought we could browse through tomorrow and see if they had any good stuff for the baby.â€￾

“Ooh. Tomorrow’s not good.â€￾

“Why not?â€￾

“I have a meeting at nine and then a luncheon at The Ritz for all of Jive’s Grammy nominees.â€￾


“Maybe we could go on Saturday?â€￾

“They’re not open on weekends.â€￾

“I can take the day off on Monday...â€￾

“I have a meeting on Monday,â€￾ he shot back coldly.

“Oh. Well, okay.â€￾ I wasn’t expecting that to pop out of his mouth. “You mind me asking with whom?â€￾


“Really? Are you reinstat–.â€￾

“It’s just technical crap to officially postpone the album.â€￾

Ah, so he can sit around here and do even more of nothing. “I see.â€￾

“You sound disappointed,â€￾ he acknowledged. “You know, I did this for you.â€￾

“No, you did it for you, Justin. I never asked you to stop your album release.â€￾

His eye twitched in a way that told me he was on the brink of starting an argument - one that I really wasn’t in the mood to take part in. “You know what, I’m sorry. You’re right. You stopped the album for me and I should support you.â€￾

“But somehow, you just don’t.â€￾

“Don’t what?â€￾

“Support me.â€￾

“I do. I’m behind you 110% if this is what you want to do.â€￾

“No, tell me how you really feel, Chelle. You already told me it was stupid as hell. Why don’t you just say it again.â€￾

“I’m not going to say that, Justin. It was an incredibly noble move on your part and I should appreciate it.â€￾

“But again, you don’t.â€￾


“Admit it, Michelle. You wish I was still in London promoting, or back in L.A., getting ready for a tour, right?â€￾

“No, I thank God everyday that you stayed here with me. For me. I just wish that–.â€￾

He interrupted me again, and his emotions seemed to be raging even more so than my own have tended to do lately. “Okay, just stop.â€￾

“Stop what?â€￾

“Stop lying to me.â€￾

Hey, so what’s my damage today?
Don’t let me get in your way

“What the f*** are you talkin’ about?â€￾ I asked in confusion.

“You can’t bullsh** a bullsh**ter. Why can’t you just admit that I made a mistake?â€￾

Let it out like you always do
The trouble between me and you is nothing new

“Why do I have to admit it? Why can’t you admit it? Because that’s obviously what you think.â€￾

“No, what I think is that I jeopardized my entire career for a selfish b**** that can’t pull her ass out of her office long enough to give a damn.â€￾

So I listen to you complain and then
I bite my tongue in vain again
As I let it all just slowly settle in

And so there we have it ladies and gentlemen: the truth, all wrapped up in one ugly, loaded statement. I nodded, wanting to say something, but completely dumfounded. How do you respond to that without completely losing it? “So I’m a selfish b****?â€￾ I inquired calmly.

“Yeah, pretty much.â€￾

“Then... why are you still here?â€￾


“What’s the point, Justin? Why are you wasting all your time and energy on a selfish b**** like me when you could easily be living your fabulous life of fame, fortune and females? Why are you sticking around here, sneaking into the city before noon so that you can get home in time for daytime TV? What the f*** is keeping you here? Huh? You have so much goddamn drive to be Justin Timberlake, then why don’t you just go â€￾

Such a pretty picture that you paint
I’m so vile while you’re a saint
Funny how your eyes see thick, not thin

“How many times do I have to–.â€￾

It was my turn to interrupt him this time. “And don’t you dare f***ing say that it’s this baby keeping you here because you and I both know that more often than not, kids are raised in separate homes and become perfectly normal, beautiful, healthy children. So stop using that cop-out and tell me why you wanna spend your days and nights waiting on a selfish b**** like me to come around.â€￾

“You need to calm down, Michelle.â€￾

“No, what I need is for you to stop blaming me for everything that’s wrong in your life Sorry if I can’t succumb to your every whim like all the spineless b****es you’ve consumed yourself with in the past. But it’s been three f***in’ years, Justin. You should get it now. So if I’m so goddamn selfish, why don’t you pack your sh**, get out of my house and have one of your adoring fans supply you with house and home.â€￾ I did my best to get up from the couch as quickly as possible and headed back to the kitchen. “And a baby.â€￾

Oh, I can only be myself
You’re lookin’ for someone else

“Michelle, wait,â€￾ he demanded, seeing me headed for the back of the apartment. “Don’t walk away from me.â€￾

“There’s nothing more to say, Justin. I’m not perfect - I never claimed to be. And you can’t expect for me to let you blow up every time something doesn’t go your way.â€￾ I turned down the hallway, leaving him in the living room area to digest my words.

Save your breath, ‘cause here comes the truth
I’m over the drama of you
And that’s something new


<span style='color:black'>I find myself wrong again
Staring out my window
Wondering what it is I should have said

I don’t know what happened. I mean, we were getting along, right? I dunno, I guess I just got frustrated somewhere into the conversation. I think that with Michelle talking about all her plans to work and do this and that, I found myself being consumed in... jealousy? Is that really possible? It must be. Because I really do think that that could be it.

I mean, when I moved in here, I was thinking that me and Michelle would be at home together, getting ready for a baby. You know how it goes. Painting the nursery and buying baby stuff. All that kinda crap. I thought I’d be taking care of her. But all she does is work. She’s all over the place. Perhaps I should have listened to her when she told me that she didn’t need me.

I’m dizzy from the shopping mall
I searched for joy, but I bought it all
It doesn’t help the hunger pain
And a thirst I’d have to drown first to ever satiate

After an hour or so, I’d hoped that the tension of our argument had somewhat subsided, so I walked into our monochromatic bedroom where Michelle was propped on the bed, reading through her pregnancy handbook with a box of tissues strategically positioned beside her. “Can we talk, please?â€￾

“I think you’ve said enough,â€￾ she stiffly confirmed.

“I barely even got to speak.â€￾

“You said enough,â€￾ she repeated.

“You said some sh** that was pretty hurtful, too, you know. But you don’t see me walking around like I have a stick up my ass because of it.â€￾

Turning the page of her book, she retorted in a sarcastic manner, “Yeah, well maybe that’s because you’re the stick in my ass.â€￾

“Okay, I really didn’t come in here to start another argument. I just wanted to apologize.â€￾

And finally, she acknowledged my presence with an intent stare. “I’m listening.â€￾

I chuckled at her completely unwavering state of rigidity. “I’m sorry, Michelle. I’m sorry for calling you a selfish b**** and blaming you for something that’s absolutely not your fault.â€￾

Her solemn face softened and she gave me a closed-mouth grin, holding her arms out for embrace. “Come on, you big baby, and give me a hug.â€￾

I slowly trailed to her side of the bed and enveloped her into my arms and kissed the side of her face as if she were my sick grandmother as opposed to my pregnant girlfriend. “I’m just stressed, baby. I really don’t mean the things I say.â€￾ Well, some of them I do. But I won’t go there.

“I know,â€￾ she answered, patting my back. “I’m sorry, too.â€￾

“I love you, Michelle.â€￾ I could feel one of her hot tears drop to my shirt, seeping through the fabric to dampen my skin. I almost cried my damn self because it was then that I knew we weren’t really as okay as we were leading ourselves to believe. And I don’t think that either one of us were aware of the reason.

Something’s different
And I don’t know what it is

She grabbed my face and cupped it in her hands, delicately kissing the spots on my cheek underneath my eyes. “I love you, too. I really do.â€￾

“I know.â€￾ Being that close to her face with the ability to gaze directly into her light browns, I could see the fear that she’s been harboring for so long. It wasn’t just overactive hormones screaming at me. This was a pain that no New Year’s kiss or Christmas kick could bring consolation to. Something was clearly missing for each of us. And sadly, as much as I wanted to, I didn’t know how to fix it.

“Justin, are we gonna be okay?â€￾ she sniffled, still holding my face.

I nodded enthusiastically and let the silence linger in the moment. I didn’t know what to say. I’m positive that she didn’t either. We were just... lost. “We’ll be fine,â€￾ I whispered.

“How do you know?â€￾

I can’t be sure that this state of mind
Is not of my own design

I don’t. “Because we just said it. We love each other.â€￾

“And what if it’s not enough?â€￾

“It is.â€￾ I kissed her beautifully sad face, still accentuated by warm tears and I gave her the best smile I could as a matching tear fell from my own eyes. “It is.â€￾ I hope.</span></span></span>

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Postby SiMPLYiNSYNC » Wed Jan 19, 2005 9:38 pm

YESS. :yay:

Justin's jealous of JC. Hah, who woulda thought?

Geez, Justin told her! He should know better to mess with a pregnant lady. :nono:

Great update. :thumbup:

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